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Chap. Page. 
I. — Origin and Development op Coffee Culture in South- 
ern India... ... ... ... ... l 

Mysore ... .. ... ... ... 3 

Cuddoor ... ... ... ,..3 

Munzerabad ... ... ... ... 4 

Coorg ... ... ... ... ... 5 

Wynaad ... ... ... ... 6 

General Remarks ... ... ... , 4 . 8 

Brazil... ... ... ... ... g 

Java ... ... ... ... ,,, 9 

Ceylon... ... ... ... ... 10 

Exports of Coffee from Southern India .. ... 10 

Labour law ... ... ... ... II 

II. — Climate, Soil, and Elevation required for Coffee 

Culture ... ... ... ... ... n 

III. — Sketch of the Physical Geography of the Coffee Dis- 
tricts in Southern India, with reference to Coffee 
Culture, including effects of Forest destruction ,,. 15 
Mysore... ... ... ... -#t ig 

Munzerabad ... .. ... ... 17 

Coorg ... ... ... ... ... 18 

Wynaad ... ... ... ... 23 

Effects of destruction of forest on climate, &c. ... 26 

Suggestions as to forest conservancy in Coffee zone ... 28 
IV. — Eeview of the present state and of the systems of 

Coffee Culture in Southern India ... ... 29 

Natural and Artificial shade ... ... ... 3 1 

Shade trees ... ... ... ... 32 

Culture in open ground ... ... ... 34 

General remarks ... ... ... ... 35 

Usual mode of planting ... ... ... 36 

Weeding ... ... ... ... 36 

Digging ... ... ... ... 37 


Chap. Page. 

Draining .,. ... ... ... 37 

Pruning ... ... ... ... 38 

Manuring ... ... ... ... 39 

General review of state and systems of Coffee culture ... 41 
V. — Natural History of the Borer, and review of the 

STRUCTIVE... ... .. ... ... 43 

General History of the insect ... ... ..45 

Symptoms of the presence of Borer in a tree ... ,. 47 

Inj uries inflicted by the larva ... ... ... 48 

Is the Borer indigenous ? ... ... ... 49 

Causes that have rendered the Borer so numerous ... 50 
VI. — Historical account and Statistics of the ravages of 

the Borer ... ... ... ... 53 

Nuggur... ... ... ... ... 56 

Munzerabad ... .. ... ..• 56 

Coorg ... ... ... ... ... 57 

Wynaad... ... ... ... ... 59 

VII. — Preventive and Remedial measures for the kavages of 

the Borer ... ... ... ... 61 

Remedial measures ... ... ... ... 62 

Preventive measures... ... •-. ... 63 

VIII. — Friends and Foes of the Coffee plant .. ... 64 

Cattle trespass ... ... ... ... 7 1 

Red Borer ... ... ... ... 74 

Agrotis segetum ... , . ... ... 75 

Bug ... ... ... ... ... 77 

IX. — Diseases to which the Coffee plant is liable ... 79 

Stump rot ... ... ... ... 79 

Rot ... ... ... ... ... 80 

X. — Other plants which may be cultivated in the Coffee zone. 81 

XI. — Future prospects of Coffee culture in Southern India. 90 


Acreage assessment in Coorg 

Agrotis segetum 

Air, humidity of, in Coorg 

Do. do. of, in Kandy 

Ants, red, often prey on Borer 

Ball planting 

Bamboo land 

Beetle, Borer 

Benefits resulting from Coffee culture... 


Borer, larva 

Do. general history of 

Do. beetle, when most plentiful ... 

Do. do. term of existence 

Do. insect? term of existence in all its stages 

Do. is it indigenous ? 

Do. not likely to disappear 

Do, of charcoal tree 

Boehmeria nivea.. 


Bullock, &c, trespass ... 
Cannon's estate 

Capital invested in Coffee culture 
Castor-oil plant, as shade... 

Do. do. culture of 

Cattle trespass ... 

Causes of Borer ... 

Ceylon, Coffee planting in 

Charcoal tree 

Chocolate tree ... 

Cinchona on Bababoodens 
Cinchona, culture of 
Clearing by piling ... 

Do. by burning... 
Climate, &c, required for Coffee 


Coffea arabica 

... r 

.. 5 


.. 22 



.. 49 



.. 36 




.. 43 


... 65 


.. 45 




.. 46 


.. 49 


.. 73 


.. 77 




.. 32 



.. 71 



.. 10 


.. 87 



.. 87 









Coffee plant, native of Abyssinia 1 

Do. introduction of, into India ... ... 1 

Do. culture, present state of, in Southern India 29 

Do. do. systems of, in Southern India 29 

Coleoptera... 72 

Coorg 18 

Do. average elevation of 19 

Do. progress of Coffee culture in ... ... ... ... ... 5 

Do. ravages of Borer in .. 57 

Culture, high, advantages of 42 

Digging 37 

Do. value of, in clay soils... ... 37 

Do. how beneficial ... ... ... 37 

Do. season for ... ... 37 

Do. forked mamoty should be used for 37 

Diseases of Coffee plant 79 

Districts of the Coffee zone 16 

Draining ... ... ... 37 

Draining, value of 37 

Drains, size of ... ... ... ... 37 

Elevation required for Coffee culture 12 

Enemies of Coffee plant ... ... 55 

Errors in Coffee culture 41 

Export of Coffee from Ceylon 10 

from Coorg ... 6 

from Cuddoor 4 

from India 10 

from Java ... 9 

from Munzerabad ... ... ... ... ... 4 

from Shemoga ... ... ... 3 

from Wynaad ... ... ... ... ... ... 7 

Exposure required for Coffee culture .. . ... ... 12 

Farm-yard manure 40 

Foes of Coffee plant 69 

Forest conservancy in Coffee zone ••• 28 

Do. dense, sign of land suited for Coffee 14 

Do. destruction, effects of, on climate... ... ... •■• ••• 26 

Do. do. do. on fauna ... ... ... ... 28 

Do- do. do. on flora ... ... 28 

Do. do. do. on food supplies 28 

Do. do. do. on health ... ... 28 

Do. effects of, on rain in Coffee zone ... ... ... ... 26 

Do. land 12 

Friends of Coffee plant 64 

Do. and foes of Coffee plant 65 

Goa tweed, analysis of, note 21 

Grass-cloth plant, Chinese 81 

Guano ... 40 

Hand weeding ... ... 36 

















Historical account of ravages of Borer 53 

Homoptera ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 76 

Injuries to stem and root from Borer... ... 48 

Insect, foes of Coffee ... ... ... 72 

Do. friends of Coffee 68 

Irrigation for Coffee 35 

Jackal, ravages of ... ... ... ... ... 70 

Java, Coffee planting in ... ... ... 9 

Do. exports of Coffee from ... ... ... ... ... ... 9 

Labour law, defect in ... ... ... ... ... ... ... H 

Do. success of planting dependent on supply ... ... ... 11 

Land for Coffee, regulations for granting ... ... ... 15 

Langour... 80 

Larva, Borer 44 

Lecanium eaffese ... ... ... 77 

Lepidoptera... ... 73 

Lethargy ... ... ... ... ... 80 

Lichens and Mosses ... ... 81 

Lime ... ... ... ... ... 40 

Locust, Coffee 73 

Manihot utilissima 88 

Manuring ... ... ... ... 39 

Do. much neglected ' 39 

Do. necessity for ... 39 

Do. season for ... 39 

Manures, natural and artificial ... ... ... ... ... ... 40 

Do, table of , and quantities to be applied ... 40 

Mercara, elevation, &c, of ... ... ... 19 

Monkeys 69 

Mungoos ... ... ... 65 

Munzerabad 17 

Do. elevation of ... ... ... ... ... 18 

Do. ravages of Borer in 56 

Musa textilis ... 84 

Mysore, physical geography of 16 

Do. progress of Coffee culture in ... 3 

Natural History of Borer .. , 43 

New-Zealand Flax... 83 

North Wynaad... 24 

Nuggur 16 

Do. ravages of Borer in 56 

Nutmeg, culture of 89 

Open ground, culture of Coffee in 34 

Origin and development of Coffee culture in Southern India 1 

Orthoptera ... ... ... ... ... ... p#f <<# 73 

Ova of Borer beetle 44 

Do. do. number of 45 

Do. do. development of 45 

Do. do. hatching of 46 


Ova of Borer Beetle when deposited ... 46 

Ovipositor ... ... ... ••• ... ... ... ... 44 

Ouchterlony Valley ... 26 

Pbormium tenax ... ... ... ... ... 83 

Physical Geography of Coffee Districts 15 

Planting, usual mode of ... ... ... 36 

Plantain, Manilla 84 

Plants for culture in Coffee Districts 81 

Preventive measures for Borer ... ... ... ... ... G1&63 

Products of Coorg 23 

Do. of Munzerabad 18 

Do. of Nuggur 17 

Prospects of Coffee culture ... 11 & 90 

Pruning ... ... ... ... ... ... ••• 38 

Do. effects of bad 39 

Do. season for ... ... 39 

Pulneys, planting on ... ... ... ... •.. ... ... 8 

Pupa of Borer .. ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 44 

Do. do. term of existence of ... ... ... ... ... 47 

Pupse often perish ... ... ... ... ... 47 

Rainfall necessary for Coffee ... ... ... ... ... ... 13 

Do. on Bababoodens ... 16 

Do. in Coorg 20 & 22 

Bo. at Kandy, Ceylon 22 

Do. in Munzerabad ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 18 

Do. in North Wynaad ... 24 

Do. in South "Wyuaad ... 25 

Eats 70 

Red Borer 74 

Remedial measures for ravages of Borer ... ... 62 

Reptiles 68 

Ricinus Communis ... "• 84 

Ringer 75 

Ring on bark, as sign of Borer 46 

Rot 38&79 

Seasons in Coorg 22 

Do. in Munzerabad ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 18 

Shade, artificial ... .. ... ... ... ... ... ... 31 

Do. natural ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 31 

Do. culture in Java and Brazil ... ... ... 30 

Do. culture, advantages and disadvantages of 32 

Do. effects of, on Coffee ... ... 32 

Do. kind of, for certain localities ... ... ... ... ... 34 

Do. reasons for use of, in Southern India 31 

Do. trees 7T. 32 

Soils for Coffee culture .7. 13 

Squirrels ... ,., 71 

Statistics of ravages of the Borer 56 


Stump rot 79 

Syncladium Nietneri 7S 

Tapioca culture ... ... ... ... ... ... 88 

Taxation of coffee culture, Haulet system ... ... ... ... 1 

Tea culture 86 

Tea in Coorg 22 

Theabroma cacao ... ... ... .,, ... ... ... ... 87 

Trees suitable for shade ... ... ,.. ... ... . . 32 

Topping, reasons for 38 

Triposporium Gardueri ... ... ... ... ... ... 78 

Tunnel of Borer ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 46 

Weeding and weeds ... ... ... 36 

Do. during monsoon ... ... 37 

Do. to be done more frequently 37 

Weeds killed by Sweet Potato 36 

Weeds should be buried or burnt 37 

Wynaad 23 

Wynaad, introduction of Coffee into ... 6 

Do. mean elevation of ... 23 

Do. progress of Coffee planting in 6 

Do. ravages of Borer in ... ... ... ... 59 

Xylotrechus quadrupes ... ... ... ... 43 

Zone, coffee, situation, &c... 15 

Zeuzera coffeophaga ... ... ... ... ... 74 

Madras, 3rd August 1868. 

Surgeon George Bidie, m.b., 


The Honorable R. S. Ellis, c.b., 

Chief Secretary to Government, 

Fort St. George. 

Sir, — I have the honor to forward, for the information of Govern- 
ment, the following report on the ravages of the Borer in Coffee 
Estates, which 1 was directed to undertake in G. O., Public Depart- 
ment, No. 1311, dated 22nd October 1867. To avoid repetition, 
and bring the whole of my remarks together, I have thought it bet- 
ter to prepare one general Report, instead of a distinct one for 
each district ; and trust that this will meet with the approval of the 
authorities to whom it is addressed. As the investigation progress- 
ed, I found it absolutely necessary, in order to arrive at satisfactory 
conclusions, to consider nearly every point connected with Coffee 
culture, and, to render this communication complete, it will be 
necessary to review the several matters that occupied my attention. 

I have, &c, 


Commissioner for Investigating the ravages of the 

Borer in Coffee Estates. 





The Coffee plant cultivated in Southern India is the Cojfea 
Arabica, and a native of Cafta in Southern Abyssinia. Several 
varieties exist, but none of them differs sufficiently from the original 
to entitle it to the rank of a distinct species. Some of the plants 
have been raised from seed brought from Ceylon ; but coffee was 
first introduced into India upwards of two centuries ago by a 
Mussulman pilgrim, Bababooden. This man, on his return from 
Mecca, brought a few berries in his wallet, and taking up his abode 
amid the fastnesses of the hills in Mysore that still bear his name, 
planted them near his hut. The trees raised from these were 
gradually multiplied, and no doubt the greater portion of the coffee 
now growing in Southern India has been derived from this stock. 
For a long time subsequent to its introduction, the cultivation of the 
plant does not seem to have extended beyond the Fakeer's garden, 
and it is only within the last sixty or seventy years that it has been 
taken up in other parts of the country. Indeed, while Mysore was 
under Native rule, no encouragement was given for its extension, and 
the cultivator was fettered with oppressive taxes levied hy men who 
farmed the revenue. When the country lame under British rule 
things were changed for the better, and what is called the Haulet 
system introduced. Under this the planter pays a duty on every 
maund of produce, and it is curious to notice how coffee culture has 
extended as the rate of taxation has been reduced, and other liberal 
measures brought into operation. 

No doubt the greatest stimulus has been given to it by the 
increased value of the produce ; a hundred- weight of coffee at the 



present day, being worth double what it was some j T ears ago. In 
3848, in Ceylon, a hundred- weight of native coffee was sold for the 
same price as a bushel of rice, viz., 4§ Kupees, and about the same 
time estate coffee from Wynaad was selling on the coast for 1 7 Eupees 
the hundred-weight. At present, estate coffee is worth from 30 to 
84 Rupees the hundred-weight, and although the working expenses 
of estates have greatly increased of late, still the rise is insignificant 
as compared with the marvellous improvement in prices. About 
forty years ago coffee culture in Southern India was entirely in the 
hands of Natives, but since that period, it has been gradually taken 
up by the more enterprising and energetic European. One of the 
first in the field was Mr. Cannon, and his estate, situated on a high 
range immediately to the south of the Bababoodens, is still in 
existence, the original coffee plants flourishing under the shade of 
the primitive jungle. Some years after, several estates were 
opened in the Wynaad, and on the Neilgherries, but for a consid- 
erable period, operations hardly extended beyond the stage of 
experiment. From ten to twelve years ago, the high price of land, 
and flourishing state of coffee culture in Ceylon, induced planters from 
that island to come over to India, and their presence and efforts 
gave a great impetus to coffee culture. The demand for land 
rapidly grew in every part of the coffee districts, and as capitalists 
had full confidence in the success of planting, estates multiplied and 
extended their acreage very rapidly. Throughout 1860 and 1861, 
there was a perfect mania for planting, extravagant ideas of the 
profits to be reaped from it having taken possession of the public 
mind, while such contingencies as bad seasons, appear to have been 
entirely forgotten. Men of moderate means joined in buying land 
and invested their hard-won savings without a doubt as to success, 
while others of greater ambition established Joint Stock Companies, 
spent lakhs in the purchase of ready-made estates, and pleased their 
own minds and those of the other shareholders, with visions of fifty or 
sixty per cent, of profit. As might have been foreseen, such extra va- 
g nt hopes have never been realised, the anticipated fortunes having 
i jtreated far away into the future, and the fifty or sixty per cent, dwin- 
dled down to five or six. In many cases, indeed, these adventures 
have, from various causes, proved complete failures, the balance alwa}< s 
being on the wrong side ; and taking them as a whole, the results 
have been such as to render the public distrustful of coffee culture 

as a safe or profitable investment, and to lower greatly the value of 

Mysore : — The success of Mr. Cannon's experiment gradually 
induced others to follow in his footsteps, the fine old estates of 
Igoor and Hulhully being the next in succession as regards age in 
the Mysore territory. Around them as centres others have, within 
the last twelve or fifteen years, rapidly sprung up, until at the 
present day there is nearly a continuous chain of estates from the 
northern slopes of the Bababoodens, to the southern limit of 

The coffee districts in Mysore lie in the Nuggur and Astragam 
Divisions. There are also a few holdings in the Nundidroog Divi- 
sion, but so small, that they do not require any notice here. As 
regards Nuggur, the coffee-producing districts are two in number, 
viz., Shemoga and Ouddoor. The extent of land taken up for its 
culture in the former is not exactly known, but the following state- 
ment of the exports of coffee from the district, during the last eleven 
years, shows how rapid the development of this branch of industry 
has been ; the produce last season having been more than ten times 
what it was in 1857-58 : — 

Exports of Coffee from the Shemoga District, from 1857-58 to 1867-68. 











1858-59 ... 




1859-60 ... 




1860-61 ... 




1861-62 ... . 

. . ... ■ 




1862-63 ... 

. . ... 

. , 





1863-64 ... 

. . ... 

. , 





1864-65 ... 

. . ... 

, , 





1865-66 ... 

. . ... 




1866-67 .., 

. . ... 





1867-68 ... 






In Cudcloor, 7,302 acres have been secured by Europeans, and 
74,674 acres by Natives for coffee planting, but the export returns 
do not show the remarkable increase in the produce observable in 
the Shemoga return. On the contrary, it is so uniform, the fluctu- 
ations that appear being nothing more than what might be occa- 

sioned by differences in seasons, that we may infer, that coffee 
culture in this district has been nearly stationaiy for the last ten 

years : — 

Exports of Coffee from the Cud door District, from 1858-59 to 1867-68. 
















In both statements the effects of the bad season of 1866-67 are 
very noticeable ; but the large returns in the following year show 
that the depression was only temporary, and that very many trees 
were not destroyed by the Borer. In Munzerabad, situated in the 
Astragam District, there is a greater extent of land in the hands of 
Europeans, the amount being 22,385 acres, while Native proprietors 
hold 28,351 acres. The whole of this is not under cultivation, but 
we may fairly assume that about three-fourths of the entire area 
have been reclaimed. The folio win g table gives the weight of coffee 
exported, during the last nine years, and shows that the culture has 
gradual^ been increasing: — 

Exports of Coffee from the Munzerabad District, from 1858-59 to 1866-67. 

Y e ars. 

















The revenue from coffee land in Mysore is derived from a duty 
of one-fourth of a rupee on each maund (28 lbs.) of produce, so that 

the State, as well as the cultivator gains bjr good, and loses by bad 
seasons. A good deal might be said in favour of a change to the 
acreage assessment ; but on the other hand, the existing system 
seems to answer on the whole very well, and is certainly very 
acceptable to the planters. 

Coorg : — In Coorg, lying immediately to the south of Munzera- 
bad, coffee was introduced in the days of the Rajahs by a Mahomme- 
dan fakeer, who is said by some to have brought the seed from the 
Bababoodens, and by others from Mocha. However this may be, 
there can be no doubt that the plant has been cultivated there in 
native gardens for more than fifty j^ears, and there are small native 
holdings near the Nalkanad Palace, in which the plants are from 
twenty to twenty-five years old. About twelve or thirteen years 
ago, European planters began to enter the province, and, during the 
last eight years, their number has rapidly increased. At the same 
time the natives of Coorg, prompted by their example, have eagerly 
embarked in coffee culture, and now even every spare bit of ground 
about their cottages is stocked with the plant. At present, 47,572 
acres are held by Europeans, and 24,638 acres by Natives as coffee 
land, but as the rules for assessment do not make any distinction 
between cultivated and uncultivated, it is impossible to say how 
much has actually been planted. Probably 40,000 acres would be 
quite within the mark. Formerly, as in Mysore, the revenue from 
coffee culture in Coorg was levied by a tax on the produce ; but 
four years ago, on the petition of the planters, an acreage assess- 
ment was substituted for the old system. Under this, during the 
first four years of tenure, the land is held free, but thereafter, up to 
nine years, there is an annual tax of 1 Rupee per acre, and subse- 
quently a tax of 2 Rupees per acre in perpetuity. All land taken 
up for coffee, no matter whether cultivated or not, is subject to 
these conditions, and there can be no doubt that this s} 7 stem pre- 
vents speculators from acquiring jungle with the view of selling it 
in after-years at a profit, and stimulates planters to cultivate their 
land carefully in order to render it as profitable as possible. 

The following Statement exhibits the number of maunds of 
coffee exported from Coorg during the last eleven years, and, judg- 
ing from that, it will be observed that the cultivation has extended 
very rapidly during that period. In the season 1857-58, the total 
exports only amounted to 46,336 maunds, while ten years after they 
reached 260,000 maunds, or more than five times as much : and it 


must be recollected that even yet a great many estates have not 
come into full bearing : — 

Statement of Exports of Coffee from Coorg.from 1857-58 to 1867-6S. 





























Wynaad and Neilgherries : — Coffee has been cultivated on the 
slopes of the Neilgherries for about thirty years. The extent of land 
suited for the purpose is rather limited, and there is no probability 
of the acreage now under culture being greatly increased. Many 
3 ? ears ao"0 Dr. Gardner gave it as his opinion that the eastern flank 
of the chain would, owing to the dry nature of the climate, be 
found unsuited for coffee culture, and certainly experiments on that 
aspect have not, as a whole, been very successful. One or two 
estates have no doubt been very productive, but they have been 
made so at an enormous expense, and taking everything into 
account, have not probably been very remunerative. On the west- 
ern face of the chain, the monsoon beats with such violence that 
it would be quite useless to attempt the culture of coffee on that side. 

Coffee and Tea plants were introduced into Wynaad about forty 
3 T ears ago by a Major Bevan, who commanded the Wynaad Rangers. 
He did not take up the cultivation to any extent, but merely put 
down some plants by way of experiment in a garden at Manan tod- 
dy. These throve remarkably well, and having been seen b}' a 
Mr. Glasson in 1838, induced him to think of planting on a larger 
scale. Accordingly, in 1840, he began operations and opened out 
on a hill in Mauantoddy the first estate in Wynaad. In 1842, Mr. 
King, Agent for Messrs. Parry and Company, Mr. Baber, a retired 
Bombay Civilian, the Messrs. Morris, Captain Pope, Dr. Magrath, 
and several others entered the district. Nearly all the land taken 
up at this period was what is known as grass, or bamboo land, and 
in consequence most of the estates proved unprofitable, and of many 
of them not a trace — save the ruins of bungalows — remains at the 

present day. After a few years those pioneers who had come in 
with such high hopes began to leave, and by 1850 only Mr. Glasson 
and Messrs. Pany and Company's Agent remained in the district. 
They had by this time moved into South Wynaad, and it must 
have required no little courage to hold on, when thus deserted by 
neighbours, in a wild district almost totally unprovided with roads, 
and containing no villages from which sufficient supplies could be 
obtained. For some years after this crisis, coffee culture made very 
little progress in Wynaad ; but about 1855, a second rush to the 
district began, and the new arrivals seem to have vied with each 
other as to who would acquire most land, and open it out the fastest. 
Apparently there was in some cases at this period a good deal of 
injudicious haste manifested in the selection of land, and this, 
coupled with the ignorance of the new comers regarding the soil 
and climate of Wynaad, led to many of the estates proving absolute 
failures. Between 1855 and 1865, the acreage under culture w T as 
rapidly extended, but since the latter elate, owing to the alarm 
about the Borer, there has been comparatively little increase. In 
reviewing the whole history of coffee culture in Wynaad, it is very 
remarkable how little heed one man has taken of the mistakes of 
another, and hence we find hopeless experiments repeated over and 
over again. According to returns received from the local authorities, 
there are 29,909*08 acres under coffee in Wynaad, of which 2J,479'54 
acres are held by Europeans, and 8,429*54 acres held by Natives. 
The small area owned by the latter class is very remarkable, as 
compared with what is held by them in the other districts. I have 
not been able to get a return of the actual amount of coffee 
exported annually from Wynaad, but the following table, which 
gives the quantities shipped on the Malabar Coast during the past 
twelve years, must contain nearly the whole of the crops, as very 
little would pass out by Mysore and Coimbatore : — 

Statement shoicing the amount in Cwts. of Coffee grown in Wynaad, exported 
from the Ports of Malabar. 



























Of late years coffee culture has also been begun on the 
Travancore Hills, which in climate and other natural advantages 
seem greatly to resemble the coffee districts in Ceylon. The Pulney 
Hills in Madura are also said to offer suitable sites for estates, but, 
judging from their position and botanical peculiarities, the dry 
season will probably prove too trying to permit of the plants being 
profitably cultivated. 

General Remarks : — It will thus be seen that coffee estates 
extend in nearly unbroken chain along the crests and slopes of the 
Ghats, from the northern limit of Mysore, down to Cape Comorin. 
Hill sides and ravines, but lately the favourite haunts of the 
elephant and bison, have been stript of their covering of grand old 
forest, and vast solitudes converted into scenes of busy industry ; 
and wherever the planter has gone, there is gradually following in 
his track a net-work of imperial roads, along which hamlets and 
villages are springing into existence, so that in a few years these 
once pathless jungles will be quite accessible and possessed of a 
considerable population. The benefits that will flow from this 
influx of European enterprise and capital must, ultimately, be very 
oreat. Every estate opened up may be regarded as a fresh centre 
of civilisation, a new source of revenue, and additional means of 
livelihood for the labouring classes. At the same time it must be 
recollected that coffee culture is still, so to speak, but in its infancy 
in Southern India; that many planters have had little or no previous 
experience in their occupation ; that they have had to contend with 
various difficulties inseparable from the early days of all such 
undertakings, and that, therefore, we cannot expect, under the most 
favourable circumstances, the full tide of success and resulting 
advantages to set in for several years to come. In Mysore and 
Coorw there are from 130 to 150 Europeans, and in Wynaad about 
the same number engaged in coffee culture. The capital embarked 
is something enormous, every acre costing, on an average, about 
£30 before it can be brought into bearing. In Mysore and Coorg 
there are probably over 100,000 acres under coffee, and if we reduce 
the cost of reclaiming to £12 per acre, so as to make allowance for 
native holdings which are generally opened out on a cheap scale, we 
shall have property representing a money value or expenditure of 
£1,200,000 sterling. In Wynaad, the exact acreage is 29,909-08, or 
say in round numbers 30,000 ; then allowing £20 per acre for 
opening, as the native holdings arc small, and almost all the land 

cleared, we have property in Wynaad which has cost the owners 
£600,000 in preliminary expenses. There has thus altogether 
been expended in opening estates in these districts capital 
to the extent of £1,800,000, and it is to be hoped, both for 
the sake of the enterprising men who have placed so much at 
stake, and that of the countiy, that coffee culture will ere long 
prove more remunerative than it has hitherto done. Of late, the 
other great coffee producing countries, Ceylon, Java, and Brazil, 
have year by year been increasing their exports of this article, and 
this, coupled with a prospective increase in the working expenses, 
has led many Indian planters to fear such an ultimate reduction of 
prices, as would render its culture in this country unprofitable. In 
1860, the coffee produced in Brazil amounted to 2,956,250 cwts., but 
in 1863-64, owing to various causes, it had dwindled down to 
2,167,000 cwts. Next season showed a decided increase, the out- 
turn having reached 3,000,000 cwts., and in 1866-67, it amounted to 
no less than 3,799,647 cwts. It thus appears that coffee culture is 
rapidly increasing in this quarter of the world, and, although ham- 
pered by various obstacles, still so favourable are the climate and 
soil, and so great the facilities for exportation provided by the 
recently made railway, that it is certain to go on with steady pro- 
gress, and Brazil continue the greatest coffee-producing country in 
the world. At the same time there does not appear to be any 
immediate risk of her competing extensively with the coffee countries 
of the East in the European markets, as her neighbours, the United 
States, buy a very large portion of her crops. In 1867, of 2,659,753 
bags exported, no less than 1,226,636 went to American ports, and 
the consumption of coffee throughout the republican territory is 
steadily on the increase.* 

Java, the next largest coffee-producing country in the world is 
a less formidable rival, her exports having remained nearly station- 
ary for a considerable period. The following table exhibits the 
amount of the coffee crops in Java throughout a series of years : 

Years. Coffee. 


1862-63 1,474,000 

1863-64 671,000 

1864-65f 1,271.000 

1866-67 1,162 ,596 

* These statistics have been got from Ferguson's " Ceylon Directory." 
t Statistics for 1865-66 not known. 



In Ceylon the annual increase in crop lias of late been consider- 
able; as will be seen from the following table : — 





The energy and intelligence, too, with which coffee culture is 
conducted in Ceylon, lead us to anticipate a still further increase in 
production ; but on the other hand, as the acreage of unopened land 
is not very extensive, the day cannot be far distant when it will 
have reached its maximum. 

The tables already given show how coffee production has pro- 
gressed in our own coffee districts, and the following statistics of 
exports from the East and West Coasts exhibit the total produce of 
Southern India, throughout a series of years : — 


Exports from 
































1861-62 ,.. 










j 1862-64 


] 18,906 



i 1864-65 





1 1865-66 





' 1866-67 





Although coffee culture is thus extending in every country in 
which it is conducted, still there is no reason to expect a very great 
reduction of price, in consequence, as the consumption of the bever- 
age is rapidly increasing both in the east and the west. At the 


same time the Indian planter must strain every nerve to keep his 
place in the field, and there is no doubt that this end will be best 
accomplished, by adopting a more careful and scientific system of cul- 
ture. On the part of Government all that is required is a continua- 
tion of the present expenditure on the making of roads in the coffee 
districts, and the extension of railway communication as soon as 
that can be effected. The success and development of coffee culture 
depend also very largely on the supply of labour, and at present 
this, in most districts, is both uncertain and inadequate. Mysore is 
perhaps better off in this respect than the other districts, as the 
coolies generally belong to villages near the estates, and the average 
rate of pay is lower than in Coorg and "YVynaad. In the latter dis- 
tricts, the coolies are chiefly drawn from the interior of Mysore, and 
from below the Ghats. To induce them to take employment, it is 
found necessary to give advances, a system productive of consider- 
able loss to the planter, as desertion is very common, and it is found 
practically almost impossible to lay hold of a deserter. As a rule, 
too, the coolies will only work for eight or nine months of the year, 
and unfortunately the season at which they choose to go awa} 7 ", is the 
very time when pruning and other important operations should be 
going on. The existing labour law seems, as a rule, to be approved 
of generally by planters, but it appears desirable that some modifi- 
cation should be made in it, so as to render an engagement or con- 
tract binding without the tender of a money advance. At present, 
too, in some districts, the difficulty of bringing a culprit to justice 
is so great, and the prosecution so tedious, that many planters 
prefer losing their money and labour to going into Court. 


Of all exotics cultivated in India, coffee is certainly the hardiest, 
as it may be seen growing at every elevation, from that of the sea 
level, up nearly to the crests of the Neilgherries, and, of course, under 
the most different conditions, as to moisture, soil, and temperature. 
At the same time it thrives best in a moderately warm and moist 
atmosphere, such as is to be found at a medium height on tropical 
hill ranges, dry heat or great cold being equally unfavourable for 


it. When grown at a low elevation, it suffers from the drought and 
high temperature of the hot season, and although irrigation and 
shade may partly avert the ill effects, still coffee cannot be profita- 
bly cultivated in Southern India at any elevation much below 
2,000 feet above the sea level. Again, in too elevated localities it 
runs to leaf, and produces but little fruit, and that, owing to the 
low temperature and want of sunshine at the proper season, but 
rarely arrives at maturity. A site where the temperature ranges 
from 60° to 85° , and the rain-fall is copious and well distributed, 
while the air and soil are perennially moist, will be found the best 
suited for coffee. Such a spot will generally be met with at an 
elevation varying from two to four thousand feet, a good deal 
depending on exposure and position as regards the crest of the range. 
Thus a station on the western slope of the Ghats may have a rain- 
fall double that of one at the same height on the eastern flank, and 
a place eight or ten miles distant from the crest of the chain, will have 
far less rain than one nearer that point. The exposure is also of 
great importance — slopes facing the south or south-west being 
much hotter than those looking north or north-east. Under any 
circumstances, land with a due south-west exposure is not suited for 
coffee, the violence of the monsoon rendering the plants unproduc- 
tive, or killing them outright. Slopes having a northerly or easterly 
exposure are undoubtedly the best, and they should be covered 
with forest, as coffee will not grow on grass-land, or ground covered 
with scrub jungle. The degree of slope is also a matter of great 
importance, for when the declivity is too great, the storm water, in 
spite of every precaution, is sure to carry off much of the most valu- 
able portion of the soil. It is well to avoid the crests of high ridges 
or low hills, as the plant does not generally thrive on these, and 
forest left standing in such places affords shelter and feeds springs. 
The land in the coffee districts is conveniently divided by planters 
into Forest and Bamboo* The former lies near the crest of the 
Ghats, and in a state of nature is covered with dense tall forest, 
while the latter is situated more to the east, and is clothed with 
rather open jungle, characterised by numerous clumps of bamboo. 
As to the relative merits of these two tracts for coffee culture, some 
difference of opinion prevails, but my own observations have led to 
the conclusions, that as regards climate, forest-land has the advan- 

* See Map, where the line that separates these is indicated by a yellow streak. 


tage — the air being moister, and the temperature lower and more 
equable — while in the matter of soil, bamboo-land is decidedly the 
superior. It must, however, be remarked that the bamboo district 
is, during the dry season, swept by scorching east winds which some- 
times cause the coffee to lose its leaves, and even kill the young 
wood, and is liable to suffer from severe and protracted droughts. 
There is a pretty general belief that on estates in the bamboo dis- 
trict, coffee will live only for eight or ten years, and experience 
apparently confirms this opinion. The fact is, that the peculiarities of 
the soil and climate there cause the plants to be prematurely and 
unusually productive, by which they are speedily exhausted ; but, I 
have no doubt, that byjudicious pruning, protection with shade, and 
manuring, they might be rendered just as enduring as those in other 
localities. T u e annual rain-fall is a point which requires to be care- 
fully considered in selecting a site for a coffee estate, as excessive 
rain is nearly as prejudicial to the plant as excessive drought. 
Unfortunately, too, a heavy rain-fall by no means ensures perennial 
humidity of the soil and air, for in many parts of the coffee districts, 
where upwards of 100 inches are deposited during the south-west 
monsoon, there is a dry season quite as trying as that of eastern 
Mysore or of Coimbatore. A fall of from 80 to 100 inches is all 
that is necessary, provided a fair proportion of it descends in 
Februaiy, March, April, and May, so as to temper the severity of 
the heat during these months. The year in our coffee districts may 
be divided into the dry and wet seasons, and in most cases these are 
characterised by extremes, the former being excessively hot and 
dry, while during the latter, torrents of rain come down and the air 
and earth are saturated with moisture. These peculiarities prove 
very trying to the coffee, and have been the chief agents in render- 
ing some estates unsuccessful. To enable the plant to withstand 
such inimical agencies must, of course, be the chief aim of the 
planter, and to secure this end, the best means will be judicious 
draining to remove the superabundant water during the rains, with 
manuring, and in many cases shading, to aid the plant in resisting 
the depressing influences of the dry season. The next point of 
importance is the nature of the soil and subsoil. In nearly all our 
coffee districts the great want in the soil is lime, but it generally 
contains a fair amount of potash and soda, derived from decayed 
wood ashes, and the debris of the metamorphic rocks, which abound 
everywhere. The soil best suited for coffee is a chocolate coloured 


loam, resting on a moderately porous subsoil. Such soil is very 
common in some districts, and often of great depth. Some red and 
blackish soils also answer very well, the former consisting of clay 
coloured with iron, sand, and organic matter, and the latter chiefly 
of humus and sand. There is a black soil, with a strong resemblance 
to " cotton soil," which cakes and cracks during the hot season, in 
which coffee does not thrive well. In some districts laterite is the 
prevailing subsoil, and when not too stiff and too near the surface, 
it does not appear to do any harm, but when the soil is thin, so that 
the roots enter the laterite, the plants shortly begin to look sickly. 
As a rule too, laterite districts when stript of their vegetation, are 
very hot, and rather feverish. Light sandy or gravelly soil does not 
suit coffee, being poor, hungry, and too dry. Stiff clay soils are 
equally unsuitable ; but, perhaps, the finest coffee in India is raised, 
on a soil consisting of a drab coloured rather porous clay. In wet 
weather a stiff clay soil does not permit the water to percolate 
through it, and the plants are, therefore, liable to suffer from rot at 
the root ; and again in the dry season, although it may contain a 
large per-centage of moisture, it cakes on the surface, and so 
obstructs the functions of the roots. A moderate amount of stones 
or boulder masses is by no means objectionable, as it prevents the 
earth from being washed away, and also renders it cooler and more 
permeable to moisture. Soil resting immediately on rock, that is, 
without a considerable depth of intervening subsoil, is apt to suffer 
from drought, and the plants turn sickly or die on touching the 
rock. The colour of a soil is of considerable importance, that of a 
dark colour being heated most, and pale clay the least by the solar 
rays. The degree of moisture, however, greatly affects the 
temperature of soil, and so it often happens that humus, which has 
a great affinity for water, is considerably cooler than a soil of 
lighter colour. The power that a soil has of absorbing and trans- 
mitting, as also its capacity for retaining water, are points of much 
importance ; its fertility being in direct proportion to the degree of 
porosity and its capacity for receiving and husbanding moisture. The 
earth that seems to possess these qualities in the highest degree is 
a loam, such as that which has been described as the best suited 
for coffee, viz., a chocolate coloured friable mixture of sand, clay, and 
organic matter. Plants are, perhaps, the safest guides as to the 
nature and fertility of a soil, and the planter recognises this in 
practice by avoiding grass-land and sparse jungle, and selecting a 


site covered with dense forest. In short, it may be regarded as a 
safe maxim, that land covered ivith dense jungle has in generalkt 
soil suited for coffee culture. At the same time a block should 
never be selected, until the nature of the soil and subsoil has been 
carefully ascertained by sinking pits in various directions. Before 
leaving this subject, I cannot help remarking, that if greater care 
and judgment had been exercised in the selection of sites for 
estates, coffee planting would have been very much more success- 
ful than it has hitherto proved. Indeed, mistakes in this matter 
were quite inevitable, as, in numerous instances, the men who went 
site hunting were almost, or totally inexperienced in coffee planting. 
The loss and mischief too resulting from such errors have unfortu- 
nately not descended on the owners of the property alone, in- 
asmuch as they have rendered capitalists distrustful regarding the 
stability of coffee estates in general, and so turned into other 
channels a great deal of money, which might otherwise have been 
employed in extending coffee culture. The unnecessary destruc. 
tion of forest too, that these futile experiments have led to, is a matter 
of serious concern to the State, for the denudation has rendered the 
climate both drier and hotter, and the scrub jungle that springs up 
on abandoned clearings is a fertile source of malaria. It seems, 
therefore, desirable with a view to check such unnecessary felling, 
that, in future, when application is made for coffee land, the chief 
Revenue Officer and Executive Engineer of the district, along with 
the Conservator of Forests, should inspect the block selected, and 
ascertain whether or not it is suited for the purpose. 





The tract or zone* in which coffee is cultivated in Southern 
India stretches chiefly along the crests of the "Western Ghats, and 
extends from about the 14° of North latitude down nearly to Cape 
Coinorin. The kind of climate that the plant requires, and the 
limited breadth of the range prevent the zone from even attaining 
any great breadth, and the former reason also causes it to follow 

* See Map. 


exactly all the windings of the chain. In this sketch, it will be 
convenient to adopt the ordinary division of the tract into the coffee 
districts of — 

Mysore J^W*"! 
( Munzerabad. 


Mysore : — In Nuggur, the most northerly part of the Mysore 
zone, the coffee district is peculiar, the estates being mostly situated 
on the slopes of the Bababoodens, and other hills belonging rather 
to the table-land of Mysore than the Ghat range. The eastern face 
of the Bababoodens is very abrupt, and is crowned throughout the 
greater part of its length with a bold lofty scarp like the ruined 
battlement of some ancient fort. From the base of this a steep 
slope, covered with soil, resulting chiefly from the debris of the 
overhanging rocks, runs down to the table-land, and is covered with 
a moderately open and tall forest, in the shade of which the coffee 
is cultivated. The range is of a semi-circular shape, the convex 
face looking eastwards, and on the other side there is a vast basin 
with steep grassy slopes, intersected in the most picturesque manner 
with wooded ravines, in which coffee has long been cultivated by 
natives. On the south-east side of the hollow is the village near 
which coffee was first planted in Southern India. The top of the 
range, with the exception of a few sholas, is entirely covered with a 
carpet of grass, which in the rains is variegated with ground orchids, 
the splendid orobanche, and blue and white violets. The mean 
elevation of the Bababoodens is about 5,000 feet, and the rocks are 
chiefly micaschist and gneiss, the layers of which are flexured and 
contorted in the most curious manner. Magnetic iron ore occurs 
near the village just mentioned. Wastara and Coppadroog, in 
which coffee culture is also carried on, are mountainous districts to 
the west and south-west of the Bababoodens, lying mostly between 
them and the axis of the Ghat chain. The rain-fall on the western 
side of the Bababoodens and districts beyond is heavy, but on the 
eastern slopes it rarely exceeds forty inches. Notwithstanding this, 
estates in the latter situation seem to do very well, the soil being 
3-ich andj'naturally moist, while the elevation at which they are 
placed gives them a comparatively cool temperature, and the forest 
shade protects from the sun and scorching winds. There is still a 


good deal of land suitable for coffee culture existing in Nuggur, but 
mostly in remote parts of the district, and far away from public 
roads. Cannon's old and famous estates lie close to the south-west 
end of the Baba-boodens. The rain-fall is deposited almost entirely 
during the south-west monsoon, and the dry season is long and. 
severe, in consequence of which shade is absolutely necessary for 
coffee. In the localities in which estates are situated, the forest is 
not so dense or lofty as that which grows near the axis of the Ghat 
chain, but of moderate height and evergreen, or at any rate bearing 
leaves during the hot season, and, therefore, well adapted for shade. 
In most of the valleys, and at low elevations, dense bamboo jungle, 
interspersed with teak, blackwood, mutti, and other deciduous 
trees, which lose their leaves in the dry season, prevail. Such tracts 
are quite unsuited for coffee culture. The grains chiefly cultivated 
are ragee and rice ; and the most abundant fruits are the plantain, 
orange, and wild mango. There is a small Government plantation of 
the Chinclwna succirubra at Kullmtty, on the Bababoodens, doing 
well ; but no sites, very suitable for tea culture, seem to exist. The 
coffee produced in the district is generally of very superior quality 
and flavour, and that from Cannon's estates is as highly prized, and 
fetches as good a price in the English market as the Mocha bean. 

Munzerabad : — This district, which lies immediately to the 
south of Nuggur, differs considerably from it in various respects. 
It consists of a succession of low rounded hills, usually covered 
with grass and studded with clumps of trees, which give it very 
much the appearance of an English park on a large scale. Be- 
tween the hills run beautiful winding valleys or ravines, either 
under rice, or covered with open evergreen forest, which here 
and there runs up the grassy slopes in dark green promontories. 
To the west of the rounded hills the Ghats culminate in bold 
isolated mountain masses, between which ravines and passes of 
the grandest description run down to the low country. The prevail- 
ing rock is gneiss, and lateritic formations are very common. The 
surface soil on the grass-covered hills is generally loam or elay of a 
bright red colour, and in the rice flats the soil is mostly a strono- clay 
of a drab colour. Some of the rounded hills, so characteristic of the 
district, are covered with forest, under which the coffee is cultivated. 
The soil in such places is generally a dark loam of variable depth, 
resting on a red gravelly subsoil, or friable half-decayed gneiss. On 
the grassy hills a stemless Date palm and the Bracken fern are very 


common, while in the rice valleys the Screiv-pine, Melastomads,a.n& 
a few hardy ferns abound. The forest near the axis of the chain is 
very dense and lofty, but the tract covered by it offers few sites fit 
for coffee culture, the rain-fall being too heavy and the monsoon 
much too violent. Most of the estates in the district are situated 
towards its eastern frontier, on some of the forest-clad hills or 
ravines already described. The trees in such situations are of me- 
dium size, not too dense, and evergreen, so that when the underwood 
has been cleared away, the forest becomes admirably suited for 
shade culture. On the outskirts of some of these forest patches, 
considerable tracts of a sparse jungle, containing many deciduous 
trees exist, indicating at once a low degree of humidity and a high 
temperature. Land covered with such wood is quite unsuited for 
coffee. Here, as in Nuggur, the rain descends chiefly between the first 
of June and the end of October, and the total annual amount in the 
coffee zone ranges from a little over one hundred inches on its 
western, to forty or fifty on its eastern margin, as will be seen from 
diagram No. 1. The dry season is very long and tiying, the showers 
that fall between November and March being few, light, and uncer- 
tain. Shade is therefore absolutely necessary to protect the coffee 
during that period, all attempts to cultivate it in open ground hav- 
ing proved partial or complete failures. The general elevation of 
Munzerabad is rather low, the average height being about 2,800 
feet, and this also increases the sun's power. There is now very little 
good coffee land belonging to Government in the district, nearly the 
whole of it having been secured by European and Native planters. 
The general crops and food of the people are rice and ragee. The 
coffee exported is known in the English market as Mysore, and 
generally brings prices rather above the average of Indian plan- 

Ooorg : — This district is the most southerly portion of the coffee 
zone under the Commissioner of Mysore, and is remarkable for the 
grandeur and beauty of its scenery. From whatever direction it is 
approached, it presents a mass of blue hills of bold outline, and 
nature has defined its limits by bold mountain steeps and impene- 
trable forests. These in former years proved formidable defences, 
but it is now traversed by lines of excellent roads passable at all sea- 
sons, which connect it with the adjoining districts. Entering by 
any of these the traveller from the plains is struck with the gran- 
deur of the forests, which in great living walls line both sides of the 


road. Huge climbers scale the trees, gorgeous orchids cluster on 
their branches, and the scarps of the road are covered with mosses and 
ferns in great profusion. Mercara, the capital of Coorg, is very cen- 
trically situated, and has been built on one of the highest and 
healthiest spots in the province. It stands on a plateau about 3,500 
feet above the sea, and is surrounded by a number of small rounded 
hills, from which the forest has been completely cleared away to 
make room for coffee, whioh has, however, in most instances died out, 
leaving the denuded tracts unsightly in the extreme. Looking 
southwards from Mercara, the whole of Southern Coorg can be seen 
at a glance, and a more splendid sight could hardly be imagined. It 
is a vast undulating tract, with here and there a low hill stand in g 
up, and is bounded on the west by a mountain chain, the axis of 
the Ghats, of great elevation and bold rugged outline, and to the 
south by the grand Brummagherry range. From such a point of 
view Southern Coorg appears to be covered with one unbroken un- 
dulating sheet of forest, but a closer inspection discovers numerous 
intersecting deep-set winding valleys under rice. There are also 
many grassy glades, producing park-like scenes, in which nature far 
outstrips the most skilful efforts of the landscape gardener. The 
average elevation of Southern Coorg is about 2,800 feet, and most 
of the forest tracts in it suitable for coffee have been cleared away, 
except in the large catchment basin of the Cauver3% where the land 
is almost entirely in the hands of Coorgs. Here, coffee is chiefly 
cultivated under shade, and although the owners were willino- to 
part with their property, which they are not, felling has been 
strictly prohibited by Government. To the north of Mercara 
the country is much wilder, presenting a vast panorama of ruo-o-ed 
rocky mountains, with great scarps of bare rock, and disposed 
in the most irregular manner. The valleys between these are 
very deep, uneven, and rocky, and, therefore, not so well adapted 
for rice cultivation as those in Southern Coorg. All the hills of 
Coorg have the wild picturesque aspect that belongs to those of 
primary districts. The prevailing rock is gneiss, varying in colour 
and composition, and in all stages of decay. Quartz in beds or 
isolated pieces is rare, but boulders of gneiss, agreeing in charac- 
ter with the subjacent rock, are common. Kaolin in extensive 
beds is abundant, more especially about Mercara. Talc slate, and 
mica schists also occur in some places, but only to a limited 
extent, but laterite is to be met with here and there throughout 


the whole province, and is the prevailing subsoil in Southern Coorg. 
Coffee culture in Coorg was at first chiefly carried on in the dense 
jungle tract, but of late years numerous estates have sprung up in 
the bamboo jungles of the southern portion of the province. Most 
of the older estates surround Mercara within a radius of eight or ten 
miles, a good many being on the hilly plateau on which the station 
stands, and the remainder on the sides of the Sumpajee Ghat, a 
magnificent pass traversed by the Mangalore road. In the former 
situation the monsoon rages with great fury, and wherever the land 
is fully exposed to its violence, the coffee has either partly died out, 
or remains small and unproductive. When the exposure is favour- 
able, or shelter afforded by standing forest, the results have been 
more satisfactory, some estates having yielded very good crops. 
The quality of the soil varies greatly, but it is generally of a red- 
dish or chocolate colour, open and of fair quality. The subsoil is 
usually a red gravel, clay, or decaying rock. In the Sumpajee Pass 
and various other quarters, although the land is of fair quality, it is 
so steep, that it is liable to suffer heavily from wash. The rain-fall 
around Mercara is very heavy, the mean of three years being 143*85 
inches. It, however, rapidly decreases as we proceed eastwards, and 
at a distance of six miles down the Fraserpett road it does not proba- 
bly, on an average, exceed seventy or eighty inches. A few large 
estates are situated in this direction, and nearly all of them have 
suffered severely from the droughts of recent years ; the intensity 
of which has been greatly aggravated by the extensive clearings- 
Indeed, the dry season is so long and severe in this quarter of the 
province, that shade is absolutely necessary to protect the coffee from 
its effects. In South Coorg the heavy jungle tract approaches close 
to Veerajpettah, and immense clearings have been made to the west 
and south-west of the village. All the estates to the west lie on the 
hilly plateau of South Coorg, and the total destruction of forest, 
within a radius of eight to ten miles, exceeds three thousand acres- 
The estates to the south-west are situated on the slopes of the Per~ 
riambady Ghat, and on the flanks of hills to the south-east of it, and 
to make way for them an area of fully 1,800 acres, covered with 
splendid forest, has been completely denuded. Such wholesale clear- 
ing has had a most disastrous effect on the local climate, and there 
is no doubt that it caused the droughts of recent years to tell on the 
district with tenfold force. The soil in this quarter is chiefly a 
brownish or reddish shallow sandy loam. For the most part it rests 


on a subsoil of laterite, which, as already stated, makes land easily 
heated when deprived of its forest covering, and renders it unsuita- 
ble for coffee when it approaches too near the surface. In the Per- 
riambady Ghat the soil contains a large proportion of clay, much 
coarse gravel, and in some places so many large boulders that plant- 
ing is rather difficult. Both here and to the west of Veeraj pettah 
the land is often very steep, and the usual effects have resulted from 
the wash of the monsoon. The prevailing rock is a dark syenitic-like 
gneiss. Hardly any unappropriated land suitable for coffee remains 
in this quarter, except a few blocks belonging to Coorgs, immediately 
to the east of Mount Remarkable. About ten miles to the east of 
Veeraj pettah lies the village of Seedapoor in the bamboo district, and 
to the west and east of this a great many estates have sprung up on 
the slopes of low hills. These were mostly covered with heavy forest, 
but of quite a different character from that found near the crest of 
the chain. Generally speaking the land in this quarter is moderately 
level, and the soil a rich loam of great depth. Close to Seedapoor, 
the famous Mission Estate, which for years in succession yielded a 
ton of coffee per acre, existed, but has been completely destroyed by 
drought and the ravages of the Borer. Weeds grow much more 
abundantly and rapidly, and are much more difficult to subdue in this 
than in the heavy jungle tract. As soon as the monsoon sets in, 
grasses, some of them with nearly indestructible under-ground stems, 
spring up in perplexing abundance, and when they have been 
cleared away, the Goat-weed (Ageratuni Cordifolium) takes posses- 
sion of the ground.* The annual rain about Seedapoor does not 

Professor Leibeg gives the following analysis of the ash of the Goat- weed. He says 
it robs the soil of the very constituents indispensable for coffee, and recommends that 
it should be gathered, burned, and the ashes returned to the land as manure : — 

It contains in 100 parts 


... 2877 


... 6-89 


... 15-58 

Magnesia ... ... 

... 10-62 

Phosphoric Acid 

... 344 

Silica ... .. 

... 7-04 

Sulphuric Acid 




Carbonic Acid 

... 16-01 

Oxides of iron 

... 3-28 


Deduct Oxygen 

100 41 


usually exceed sixty inches, and it falls chiefly during the south- 
west monsoon. From December to April the air is very dry, the 
temperature high, and the sun scorching. At this period the forest 
trees lose their leaves, and herbacious plants are withered up or 
lead a precarious existence. During the first few years coffee grows 
here with amazing rapidity, and produces crops much beyond the 
average yield, in consequence of which it speedily gets exhausted, 
and is apt to suffer from Borer, and die out in from eight to ten 
years. Shade is, therefore, necessary, and as the original forest is not 
fit for that purpose, the planter must encourage the spontaneous 
crrowth of suitable trees, and put down seedlings of such when 
nature does not come to his aid. The diagram No. 2, prepared from 
tables in "Dove's Klimatologische Beetrage, 1857" will afford the 
requisite information as to the climate of Coorg in the heavy jungle 
tract, and to render it still more valuable the rain-fall and humidity 
of the air at Kandy in Ceylon, around which coffee has been so 
successfully cultivated, have been introduced to permit of com- 
parison. From this it will be observed that although the rain-fall 
at Kandy is less than at Mercara, it is much more equably distri- 
buted throughout the year, and, therefore, more favourable for 
vegetation. In Coorg, the bulk of the rain comes down during 
June, July, August, and September, as much as forty or fifty inches 
bein<* deposited during the first named month. Throughout the 
rainy season both the air and earth are saturated with moisture, 
and the coffee in consequence getting gorged with fluid, the circula- 
tion and other functions are performed very imperfectly. During 
the remaining eight months of the year it is stimulated by a high 
temperature and bright sunshine, while the rate of humidity is very 
low, in fact too often below the per-centage necessary to keep the 
plant in a healthy condition. It will be observed that as regards 
the humidity of the atmosphere, there is, taking the whole year 
round, a larger per-centage and greater uniformity in Ceylon than 
in Coorg, and this is no doubt in a great measure the result of its 
insular position. The monthly and seasonal means show, that the 
temperature is remarkably equable at Mercara. 

Tea is being tried in the province and grows well, but it has 
yet to be seen whether it will yield an amount and quality of leaf, 
such as will render its cultivation profitable. There is a small 
Government plantation of the Chinchona succirubra, but that, too, 
is merely in the stage of experiment. Coorg is famous for a species 


of orange, a. small reddish yellow fruit with a loose skin, and pulp 
of great sweetness and delicious flavour. The other fruits most 
commonly seen are the plantain and guava, a species of the former 
beino indigenous. The tamarind, owing to the excessive rain-fall 
and low temperature, will not grow. Rice is the principal crop, 
and the paddy-fields are entirely watered by perennial streams. 

Wynaad : — This district stretches in a south-east direction from, 
the southern frontier of Coorg, down to the northern flank of the 
Neilgkeny range. Its extreme length, as the crow flies, from Peria 
to Goodaloor is about fifty-five miles, and it has an average breadth of 
about twenty miles. Its south-west frontier is bounded by a range 
of bold hills, some of which attain an elevation of nearly 6,000 feet. 
To the east of this range — which also forms the axis of the Ghat 
chain — the country consists of a succession of low hills partially 
wooded, with intervening narrow winding valleys, and as we 
approach the table-land of Mysore on the east, the hills gradually 
decline in elevation. The heavy forest tract, as usual, is confined 
to the western parts of Wynaad, and runs from the northern to 
the southern extremity of the district in a belt about ten miles wide 
and parallel with the crest of the Ghats. East of this we have the 
bamboo jungle, which, judging from the number of plants belonging 
to the Mysore flora that grow in it, and other features, is both 
hotter and drier than the corresponding region in Coorw. The 
mean elevation of the coffee zone in the heavy jungle tract is about 
2,300 feet, and in the bamboo district about 2,000 feet. The prevail- 
ing rock in Wynaad is a gneiss, varying in appearance from a 
light coloured stone with a superabundance of quartz, to a dark 
syenitic-looking heavy and hard formation. There is a variety of 
schists, with their superficial strata generally in an advanced state 
of decay, and conglomerate (lateritic), kaolin, and soap-stone are 
not uncommon. The soil in so large a district, of course, varies very 
much. In the forest tract it is usually clayey, containing alono- 
with the clay, sand, and a little humus ; and varying in colour from 
a drab or pale red to a brown. In the bamboo district the soil is gene- 
rally a brownish vegetable mould mixed with a little clay and sand, 
or chocolate-coloured loam. In some quarters the black cotton-like 
earth, already described, occurs, and seems badly adapted for coffee. 
The first estates in Wynaad were in the neighbourhood of Manan- 
toddy, and at the present day every likely spot of ground for many 
miles round it is either under coffee, or shows traces of having been 


so at no distant date. The station stands a little to the east of the 
margin of the forest tract, and is surrounded by low hills covered 
with a tall scrub or bamboo jungle. North of it, about five miles, 
there is an off-set of the Ghat-chain partly covered with heavy 
timber, which runs eastward into the bamboo tract, and on this a 
o-ood many estates are clustered. The more westerly of these enjoy 
a rather favourable climate, but those on the eastern end of the spur 
are exposed to severe drought, and several estates there have had to 
be abandoned. The other estates in the forest tract in North 
Wynaad lie chiefly along the sides of the Tellicherry road. Begin- 
ning at Dindimul, seven miles west of Manantoddy, they stretch in 
nearly unbroken chain for about twelve miles to the west. The 
rain-fall in this quarter ranges from 100 to 120 or 130 inches in the 
year, but, as in Coorg, it descends chiefly in June, July, August, 
and September, and the soil being on some estates light and sandj^, 
they suffered severely from recent dry seasons, more especially 
when the plants were old and exhausted. Beyond Peria there are 
a few estates too near the crest of the Ghats, which consequently 
suffer a good deal of damage from the monsoon. The coffee plants 
in the forest district of North Wynaad appear to give rather small 
crops until of considerable age, but arrived at maturity the returns 
are satisfactory, and some estates have, with little or no manuring, 
given good crops for ten or more years in succession. Weeds, par- 
ticularly grasses, spring up abundantly on many of these estates. 
To the east of Manantoddy there are traces of a number of estates 
in grass or bamboo land, all of which have died out from povert}' of 
soil, drought, or Borer, or all these combined in fatal alliance. This 
part of the district is also very low, the average elevation being 
about 2,100 feet, and the patches of jungle in existence are of a 
kind that gives no hope of coffee living, except in perfect shade. 
Within the last few years a good many estates have been opened to 
the north-east of Manantoddy, in the district traversed by the new 
road which is to connect Wynaad with Coorg. This tract lies in 
the bamboo district, and the soil is said to be very good ; and in 
some cases shade is being industriously raised to protect the coffee 
from the protracted and severe dry season. The accompanying dia- 
gram, No. 1, gives the rain-fall at Manantoddy for 1867, by 
which it will be seen that it is considerably less than the average 
at Mercara. It must be remarked, however, that the rain-fall at the 

latter station in the same year was unusually small, having been 
only 111 inches, and it is therefore highly probable, that the season 
in question was an exceptional one in both districts. It may, there- 
fore, be safely inferred, that the ordinary amount of rain falling in 
one 3'ear at Manantoddy amounts to about 100 inches. Proceed- 
ing eastward, the nature of the flora speaks of a rapid diminution, 
and there is reason to believe that at the distance of twelve miles 
it will not be found to exceed sixty or seventy inches. In all other 
respects, including its effects on vegetation, the climate of North 
Wynaad may practically be regarded as identical with that of 
Coorg. In South Wynaad, the first estates were opened near Vy thery, 
and now there is a large number in this district running out towards 
Culputt}\ In the immediate neighbourhood of Vy thery the rain- 
fall is heav}', averaging about 130 inches. Of this, about six or 
seven inches are deposited during the north-east monsoon, and thus 
the severity of the dry season is somewhat mitigated. Towards 
Culputty the fall is much less, and the spring months are nearly as 
hot and dry as in the bamboo district. The soil in South Wynaad 
consists, for the most part, of a mixture of sand, clay, and vegetable 
mould in varying proportions, resting on. decaying schists, red 
gravel, clay or a s}^enitic gneiss veined with quartz. Most of the 
estates in this district are situated in the heavy jungle tract, and 
some of them are of considerable age and very productive. A trunk 
road, leading down the Tambracherry Pass, is in course of construc- 
tion, and when finished will be a splendid work and of immense 
advantage to the district, as it will bring it into direct and easy 
communication with the port of Calicut, situated about thircy-nine 
miles from the top of the Ghat. The rain-fall in this district, for 
the year 1867 will be found in diagram No. 1. In South-east 
Wynaad, a district of large extent, there is great diversity of soil 
and climate. About Cherambady and Dewalah, which lie in the 
heavy jungle tract, estates are rather favourably circumstanced as 
to soil and climate. To the north-east of these the picturesque 
Nelialum hill towers to a great elevation, touching with its southern 
extremity the forest tract, and then running out into the bamboo 
jungle. A few good estates are situated on or near this mountain 
mass, and those on the higher slopes are said to be very promising. 
Going eastwards from Dewalah, a chain of estates is seen running 
from near the Nelialum hills towards Goodaloor, and thence below 
the precipitous face of the Neilgherry range on to Seegoor. The 

whole of this group are in scrub or bamboo jungle, and the climate, 



during the dry season, is intenseky hot and scorching. The forest 
trees belong, for the most part, to the flora of the western portion of 
the Mysore plateau, and the climate is altogether badly suited for 
coffee, and notoriously unhealthy. In some places the coffee is kept 
alive during the dry season by irrigation, and where this expedient 
has not been resorted to, the losses from drought and borer have, 
in some cases, been very heavy. Behind Groodaloor, on the slopes of 
the Neilgherries, there is, however, a tract of quite a different 
character — the famous Ouchterlony valley. The mean elevation of 
this expanse is about 4,500 feet. On all sides it is surrounded with 
scenery grand beyond description, and, in its luxuriant mantle of 
coffee, it looks as if it had been made expressly for the growth of the 
plant. The exposure is north-west, and on the western side there 
is a lofty spur, culminating in the Neilgherry peak, that shelters it 
from the south-west monsoon, and on the east flank there is another 
spur giving protection in that direction. To the rear of the valley 
there is a forest-clad wall 1,000 feet high, and from the base of this 
the cultivated land runs out with an easy slope. The soil consists 
chiefly of the debris of the overhanging rocks, and fine vegetable 
mould washed out of the forests at a higher elevation, and is very 
fertile. The climate, too, is highly favourable, the air throughout 
the } 7 ear being moist and cool, and in the dry season fogs descend 
nearly every evening, refreshing the plants after the heat of the day, 
and moistening the soil. Weeds are rather troublesome at all 
seasons, and some of the older coffee stems are covered with mosses 
and lichens, nature's lwgrometers. In the north-east corner of the 
valley, at an elevation of about 5,000 feet, there are tea and coffee 
plantations in a very promising condition. As regards size, uni- 
formity, and vigorous appearance, nothing could surpass the coffee 
in the Ouchterlony valle}', and in no part of Southern India have 
estates been so largely and continuously productive. The chief crops 
in Wynaad are rice and raggee, but they are not produced in quan- 
tities sufficient to prevent the planter from having to send out of 
the district for supplies for his coolies. 

Effects of destruction of Forest on Climate, 8fc, : — This sub- 
ject has, with reference to Coorg, been fully discussed in a previous 
communication, but it may be useful to give a summary of the 
conclusions that have been arrived at respecting the whole of the 
coffee districts. In Nuggur and Munzerabad the clearings have not 
been numerous or extensive, the coffee, as already stated, being 

t 27 

chiefly cultivated under shade ; but in Coorg and Wynaad, where 
this system has never been in favour, the clearings have been gene- 
ral and extensive. Many are of opinion that forest has the effect of 
increasing the amount of rain, but, although that ma} T be true as 
regards European countries, it does not appear to be the case in 
India. In the former, rain is proverbially uncertain, mostly local, 
and influenced by local causes, such as the neighbourhood of a hill, 
but here it comes and goes with as much regularity as the seasons, 
being brought up by the monsoons which are dependent on causes 
fixed and far remote. These aerial currents, as they travel towards 
the Peninsula get thoroughly charged with moisture, and on reaching 
the land precipitation takes place from a sudden reduction in 
temperature. This, on the Western Ghats, is caused by the current 
striking against the colder hills and by reduction of density as it 
ascends, so that it can be of little consequence whether the mountains 
are bare or covered with dense forest. Adopting this theory, the 
forest in the coffee zone must be regarded as a result, and not the 
cause of the rain ; and nature steps in to support this view, as every 
one must have observed how forest gets thinner and lower towards 
the east, just as the rain-fall diminishes in quantity. It follows, 
as a matter of course, that forest destruction in Wynaad and 
Coorg cannot have reduced the average amount of rain ; but it is 
equally clear, that it has seriously altered the drainage, causing the 
water to run off rapidly instead of lodging in the woods to feed 
springs and streams, and render the air cooler and moisture during 
the hot season. The now periodical character of streams formerly 
perennial, the drying up of wells during the hot months, and the 
change in the flora near clearings, all testify to this in the clearest 
manner. As regards fever, the prevailing disease in the coffee 
districts, the change of climate resulting from clearings, does not as 
yet seem to have had much influence ; but there can be little 
doubt that it will eventually mitigate the type, and render the 
disease generally less frequent.* In several districts, cholera has 
made its appearance when it was formerly unknown, but this 
may have arisen from increased intercourse with infected centres, 
although it is highly probable that the climatic changes may, 
on the introduction of the disease, have favoured its development. 
It is very evident, too, that forest destruction has, in various ways, 

* Or course to ensure this the clearings must all be drained, and kept under 


affected animal and vegetable life. With respect to food supplies got 
from the animal kingdom game of all kinds has been rendered less 
abundant from want of cover, and fish from the drvinff and silting 
up and denudation of the banks of streams, in which tliey used to 
spawn and live. In the natural forest, too, there is as} 7 stem of checks 
and counterchecks which maintains a balance between creatures 
regarded by man as useful or harmless, and those considered noxious 
or destructive. Thus the carnivora keep clown mammals that prey 
on crops, while birds and various reptiles prevent the undue increase 
of insects. These last when kept within due bounds are highly 
useful as scavengers, and otherwise, and in the natural forest, they 
rarely become so numerous as to prove a pest. When clearings are 
made however, and nature's arrangements disturbed, the destructive 
species often increase to an alarming extent, owing to the disappear- 
ance of their enemies, the want of plants on which they used to feed, 
and the establishment of climatic and other conditions favourable to 
their multiplication. Of late years, owing to change of climate and 
other causes resulting from clearing, several additions have been 
made to the fauna of Coorg, various birds and lizards having come 
up from the Mysore plateau. At the same time some species of in- 
digenous birds, which live in sparse jungle, have become more numer- 
ous, and as these are chiefly insectivorous, we see in this an effort 
on the part of nature to keep in check various kinds of insects, 
which have also greatly multiplied. As regards vegetation, the most 
obvious effects are an increase in indigenous species that grow in 
hot and dry situations, and the naturalisation of several that do not 
belong to the country. The most remarkable novelties are the 
Lantana Indica, introduced as a hedge plant, and the Physalis 
Peruviana, which must have escaped from some garden. The plant, 
however, that has been most influenced by denudation is the Goat, or 
White-weed (Ageratum cordifolium) to which allusion has already 
been made. This plant follows the planter into the most remote 
parts of the jungle, springing up as if by magic all over his clearings, 
and refusing to be exterminated. 

To prevent further deterioration of climate, regulate the drain- 
age, and maintain the fertility of the coffee zone, it appears desirable 
that the following regulations as to the conservancy of forest there 
should be adopted : — 

I. That forest near the head waters of rivers or streams 
should be preserved. 


it. That forest on the banks of streams — sny to the extent 
of thirty yards on each side of a large, and fifteen yards on each 
side of a small stream — should be left intact. 

in. That forests on or near the crests of the Ghats, and on 
the tops of all low hills should be kept standing. As regards tho 
latter, it would be a safe rule to forbid felling above the lower third 
of their height. 

IV. The slopes of all hills having a south-west exposure 
should be kept under forest, as neither coffee nor tea will thrive 
in such a situation. 

v. Forest in the upper ends of ravines should be preserved, 
as it invariably gives rise to springs and streams. 

vi. Forest surrounding paddy fields should be left, as they, 
as a rule, are irrigated by streams arising in it. which are sure to 
suffer from denudation. 

vil. Forest on the slopes below an imperial road should 
be preserved, but if the trees are of a large size it should be cut 
down for some distance on the upper side, as the wind gets in 
through the clearing made for the roadway, and is apt to throw the 
trees down on the road. 


There are two distinct methods of coffee culture in Southern 
India, and as the one has often had some influence in increasing 
and the other in diminishing the ravages of the borer, it becomes 
necessary to notice both in this report. The question, as to which 
is the better, has never been satisfactorily decided by planters, 
although a good deal of controversy has taken place on the subject. 
Any other issue was, perhaps, hardly to be expected, as each party 
has engaged in the dispute with a strong bias in favour of one 
system, and having a greater desire for victory than the elimina- 
tion of truth. Party feeling too has run so high, that to praise one 
system in the presence of an advocate of the other, would often be 
considered sufficient grounds for a personal quarrel ! 

Of the two systems, that of shade is undoubtedly the older, 
and, therefore, falls to be considered first. The want of any satis- 
factory notice . of it in works on coffee culture is strongly signifi- 


cant of the light esteem in which it has been held, and yet it is the 
almost universal system followed on native property, and through- 
out two of our most prosperous coffee districts * 

Culture under shade : — This system is followed in other coffee 
producing countries besides India. In Java, it is usual to plant the 
Erytltrina Indica, or the Manilla plantain, between the rows of 
coffee, and sometimes part of the original forest is left standing. 
Porter, in his " Tropical Agriculturist,'" says, "wherever coffee trees 
are planted iu a plain, which is exposed to the sun, other trees must be 
planted near them to ward off its rays," and gives a quotation from 
" Brown's Natural History of Jamaica" to the effect, that " coffee 
thrives best in a cool and shaded situation." Dr. Wallich, when in 
charge of the Botanic Garden, Calcutta, had a considerable number of 
coffee trees there under the shade of a Teak plantation, and Dr. Royle 
remarks, that when he saw them in 1823, " nothing could be more 
healthy looking, or in better bearing." We also learn from a modern 
traveller in Brazil, that coffee thrives well in the shade of the great 
forests along the banks of the Amazon, and even yields two crops a 
year when care is taken in its cultivation.f It would also appear that 
in some of the West Iudia islands the Banana is not unfrequently 
planted amongst coffee to afford shelter and shade. In India, shade has 
been long used in native coffee gardens, and this is all the more re- 
markable, seeing that it is not thought necessary in Arabia, from which 
they got the first supply of seed, and derived their ideas as to the 
mode in which the plant should be cultivated. When visiting the 
old garden on the Bababoodens, in which coffee was first cultivated 
in Southern India, I made some inquiries on this point, and was 
told that for some time after its introduction the plants were grown 
in open ground, but it having been found in course of time that 
they did not succeed in that manner, planting in forest shade had 
been adopted. It would thus appear that the native planter was 
led to cultivate his coffee in shade by experience, the best of all 
teachers, and that he had very good reasons for a change of 
system. It is also a remarkable fact that the first European planters 
in this country followed the example of the Native, and their 
plantations, after the lapse of from twenty to forty years, are still 
nourishing and productive ! In a state of nature the coffee grows 
in moist forest where it is screened from the scorching solar rays 
by the foliage of other trees ; and hence when placed in dry hot 
* Nuggar and Mimzerabad. f Agassis " Journey in Brazil." 


situations without any protection, it languishes or dies out. As an 
element of climate the humidity of the air throughout the year is 
of much more importance than the rain-fall, and unfortunately in 
most parts of the coffee zone, the winter and spring seasons are, not- 
withstanding the heavy rain-fall during the south-west monsoon, 
particular^ dry and often veiy hot. It is in this particular that the 
climate of our coffee districts chiefly differs from that of Ceylon, 
where the plant has been so successfully grow r n in open ground, and 
it is this that renders shade absolutely necessary in India, while it 
would be perhaps useless or hurtful in the other country. The insu- 
lar nature of Ceylon gives it a climate perennially moist, and fre- 
quent showers and dews cool the air and refresh the plants during 
the hottest months of the yetxv ; but in India, often for months in 
succession, there is not a drop of rain, while at the same time the sun 
is as bright, and the air as dry and nearly as hot as on the plains of 
the Carnatic. There are two distinct methods of shade culture, the 
coffee in the one being planted under the original forest, while in the 
other, the ground having been cleared, trees are planted or allowed 
to grow between the rows of coffee to afford shade. The former 
may be termed natural, and the other artificial shade. In select- 
ing a site for the culture of coffee under natural shade forest, consist- 
ing of trees that lose their leaves during the hot season, or which are 
too tall, should be avoided, and a tract chosen in which the trees are 
of moderate height, and either evergreen, or retaining their leaves 
during the spring months. Such forest is generally met with on low 
rounded hills, or on the slopes of ravines in the coffee zone. The 
under growth usually consists of shrubs, seedlings of the trees, some 
hardy ferns, and arums and other shade and moisture loving plants, 
and must be cut down and piled in rows. In this way the plants 
decay gradually fertilising the ground, whereas if burnt there is a 
great chance of many of the forest trees being fatally injured, and 
the superficial mould is so much dried that it runs the risk of being 
washed away by the rain. In the season following the cutting and 
piling of the undergrowth, the ground is cleared of weeds, and the 
coffee planted out in the usual manner. In the case of artificial 
shade, a locality suitable for coffee having been selected, the forest 
is cut down and got rid of by piling or burning. Of the two modes, 
the former, although more expensive, is much the better, as the 
intense heat of the barn, dries and scorches the ground in a very 
prejudicial manner, while all the valuable soluble constituents 


of the ashes, and a portion of the earth is conveyed to the nearest 
nullah by the first shower. The ground having been cleared, the 
coffee is put down in the usual manner, but the rows had better 
be a little farther apart than usual to provide space for the shade 
trees. After planting, a plentiful supply of the charcoal tree 
(Sponia Wightii) generally springs up, with here and there an 
Atti-marah (Ficus glomerata) or Sand-paper tree (Ficus asperrima). 
All these, more especially the first, are well adapted for shade. If, 
however, nature does not aid the planter by trees of spontaneous 
growth-, he must take means to supply the deficiency, and as shade 
is much required by the coffee when young, any check at that 
period being highly prejudicial or even fatal, the trees selected for 
planting must be of such rapid growth, as that in one year or 
eighteen months they will protect the coffee with their side 
branches. As temporary means, until more lasting trees can be 
<n*own, the castor-oil, plantain, and potato tree (Solanum arboreum) 
may be used with advantage. The best of all trees for permanent 
shade is the jack, but it is of slow growth, giving but little shade 
until from six to eight years old. The atti-marah, already mention- 
ed, is an excellent shade tree, and has the peculiarity of losing its 
leaves in the monsoon, when shade is not required. The Busserah- 

rnarah (Ficus ?) is also one of the best of shade trees, and both 

it and the atti-marah are easily raised from cuttings. The charcoal 
tree seeds very freely, and the seed should be sown in beds and the 
plants removed when very young, as they do not bear transplanting 
well.* It lives for about forty years, but, as it is rather liable to 
accidents from winds and to the attacks of large borerf which kill 
or render it weak, it is better to regard it as merely temporary 
shade and to have jacks coming up to take its place. The effects 
of shade on the coffee plant are various, and are due to the 
diminished light, reduction in temperature, increase in moisture 
and shelter. Light being the great stimulant of the functions of 
vegetable life, its partial exclusion causes them to be performed 
with diminished activity, so that coffee in the shade as compared 

* List of other shade trees : — Poiuciana regia ; Macaranga, several species ; Cassia 
florida ; Acacia, several species; Erythrina Indica; Mangifera Indica ; Thespesia 
populnea ; Banhinia racemosa ; Bauhinia tomentosa ; Citrus aurantium ; Citrus 
bergamia ; and other species ; Quava, Psidium two species j Guazurxia tomentosa ; Jamoon 
and several of the large myrtaceso. 

t The grub of one of the Hepialid?c. 


with that in open ground grows more slowly, is later of coming into 
bearing, produces somewhat smaller crops, and ripens the berries 
more slowly. As regards the temperature in shade, the Messrs. 
Becquerel found that during summer in France, temperature in free 
air slightly exceeded that under trees, while in winter the contrary 
was the case* On these hill ranges the temperature, both of the 
air and soil in forest, is less during the dry season than in open 
ground, but during the monsoon it is probably somewhat warmer 
in the former than in the latter. On looking at a coffee tree under 
natural shacje, the most careless observer cannot fail to be struck 
with the difference in appearance that exists between it and one 
fuhy exposed to the sun. The beautiful deep green colour of the 
leaves and their great size are very striking, while the tall bare 
stem, and the umbrella-like expansion of branches at its top are 
not less remarkable. A closer inspection will discover that the 
stems have become bare from the death of the lower branches, but 
that their loss is pretty well compensated for by the great develop- 
ment of wood in the top, into which all the sap and the vigour of the 
tree are thrown. The young or fruit-bearing wood will also be 
found curiously long-jointed, and not so robust or disposed in the 
same regular manner as in unshaded trees. These peculiarities arc 
not so strongly marked in plants grown in artificial shade, which in 
general appearance, and time of coming into bearing, differ but 
little from plants in free air. The coffee in natural shade rarely 
produces much crop until five years old, and whether the shade be 
natural or artificial, trees grown under it are undoubtedly less pro- 
ductive than those in the open. It will thus be seen that there are 
some disadvantages attending shade culture, but these are quite 
compensated for by the greater longevity of the plants, the certainty 
of a fair crop, the decreased liability to suffer from droughts and high 
winds, the much lower rate of working expenses, and great im- 
munity from borer. The retention, too, of the natural forest as 
shade obviates these disastrous effects on climate and drainage that 
follow denudation, and prevents the washing away of the surface 
soil during the rains. The degree of shade necessary in a given 
locality is a question of great nicety, and hardly any general rules 
can be given on the subject, as climate, exposure, elevation, and the 
nature of the forest must all be taken into consideration. Generally 

* " Quarterly Journal of Science," April 1867, p. 280. 


speaking, in forest near the eastern margin of the coffee zone all the 
trees should be left standing, and if large openings exist, they should 
be filled up by planting trees of rapid growth. In forest farther 
west, a judicious thinning may be necessary, but this should be done 
with great caution, as forest trees, when the ground under them is 
cultivated, seem more liable to perish, and when deprived of their 
neighbours, are liable to be thrown down by the wind ; accidents 
which, in course of time, might render the shade insufficient. At 
high elevations, say from 3,000 to 4,000 feet, less shade is required 
than at lower sites, owing to the diminished air and eavth tempera- 
ture. As to the kind of shade suitable for a given locality, it 
appears that natural shade is the better for places of low elevation or 
lying far to the east, whereas artificial shade is preferable on estates 
farther to the west, and in situations where the trees are deciduous 
or too tall. Before leaving the subject, it may be as well to remarks 
that insufficient shade does not, in the slightest degree, lessen the 
liability to borer, but appears to have the opposite effect. 

Culture in open ground : — The general preference hitherto 
given to this S3'stem in Southern India seems to have arisen from 
most of the earlier planters having been trained in Ceylon, where 
it is the universal practice, and from its being recommended in near- 
ly all hand-books ; these having mostly been written by those who 
had learned the art in the same school. It was very natural for 
men coming from the famous coffee producing island, and seeing 
tracts of country resembling in so many respects the districts they 
had left, to suppose that the system which had proved so successful 
in the one would do so in the other. On the other hand it is strange, 
that the too often partial success, and very frequent failure that 
attended all these earlier experiments, did not lead the planters to see 
that some modification of the plan of culture was necessary in India. 
Nothing could afford stronger proof of how much men in general 
are wedded to systems, and how few there are who possess those 
mental qualities that enable them to observe and reason on what 
they see, and liberate themselves from the trammels of tradition. 
In the present instance, the staunch adherence to " custom" may be 
partly accounted for by the fact, that the great majority of those 
engaged in coffee culture have had no special training to qualify 
them for the pursuit, and although natural abilities may go a lon«- 
way, still the principles of horticulture and agricultural chemistry 
do not spring up spontaneously in the human mind. No English 


farmer at the present day would venture to send forth his son on 
the same pursuit, without a full acquaintance with the scientific 
principles of the art, and the planters themselves will, I am sure, 
agree with me, that such preliminary knowledge, as well as practi- 
cal training, is most essential for those undertaking the culture of 
coffee. It would he useless to give here a detailed description of cul- 
ture in open ground, but I must again remark, that the use of fire, 
to get rid of the vegetable covering of the ground, is most prejudi- 
cial. By combustion all the volatile constituents of the plants are 
transferred to the atmosphere, and the inorganic left in a state and 
position in which they are sure to be carried away by rain. The 
powerful flames too of the burn consume a great portion of the su- 
perficial layer of humus, and dry the remainder and subjacent soil so 
much, that they also are liable to be washed away. On the contrary, 
when the trees are piled and left to disappear by the slow process 
of decay, their constituents descend to the soil to fertilise it, and 
the wash, is not nearly so extensive. 

General Remarks : — I believe there is no portion of the coffee 
zone in Southern India in which the plant may not be grown under 
shade, but at the same time, at high elevations with a moist climate, 
it will not be found necessary, and the productive powers of the 
tree would be greatly diminished by its presence. It is by no 
means easy to say where shade will be required and where it will 
prove injurious, but it may be taken as a safe general rule, that 
wherever there is considerable elevation — say over three thousand 
feet — and great perennial humidity,* the plant will thrive best when 
freely exposed ; but, on the other hand, wherever there is a long and 
dry hot season, and the elevation is under three thousand feet, the 
protection of shade will be found advantageous. Irrigation has been 
tried in such situations, but it does not meet all the requirements 
of the plant, when exposed for a long period to intense heat and 
great dryness of the atmosphere. It would no doubt, however, 
prove advantageous on some estates in the dense jungle tract, where 
the wet and dry seasons are characterised by extremes, for although 
the latter may be by no means very hot, still the sudden change 
from a state of constant saturation to one of comparative dryness, is 
very trying to the plant. In most cases too, the introduction of 

* If the climate is dry, shade may be necessary up to 3,500 or 4,000 feet. 


irrigation on such estates would be comparatively easy, as there is 
generally an ample supply of water, and sufficient fall. 

Usual mode of 'planting : — When about to be removed to 
their permanent place, the plants are rudely removed from the seed- 
beds, and their roots having been pruned at discretion by a cooly, 
they are carried away to be planted. This process very nearly 
reduces the plant to the condition of a cutting, all the delicate 
fibrils by which it gathers its food from the soil being removed or 
injured. Arrived at its destination, an opening is made for it in the 
ground, in the shape of a small pit, or a hole made by a crowbar 
flattened at the end. Plants thus treated receive a great check, and 
seldom acquire that development of root, which follows more 
careful transplanting and is so essential for vigorous growth. Ball- 
planting is, of course, the best plan, but planters object to it on 
account of its expensive nature. This, it appears to me, would be 
more than compensated for by the small per-centage of plants that 
would perish, and by the vigorous and rapid growth that would 
ensue. The number of plants lost in new plantings under the pre- 
sent system is very great, and the cause of much expense. 

Weeds and Weeding : — Weeds are great enemies to the coffee as 
they are to every cultivated plant. A weedy estate is always an un- 
profitable, and very often a borer-frequented estate* The chief 
weeds are grasses, small Cyperacem most fatal to coffee, Spider- 
worts, and the Goat-weed already alluded to more than once. This 
last is stigmatised by Liebig as a "most pernicious weed for woody 
plants," as it withdraws the potash from the soil, and he recom- 
mends that it should be gathered, burned, and the ashes returned 
to the soil. There is a system called hand-weeding, which consists 
in eare fully removing from the first all the weeds by hand, instead of 
by mamoty. In this way the soil is never disturbed, and its sur- 
face gets gradually covered with moss, so that it is impossible for it 
to suffer from wash. At the same time there are some disadvan- 
tages, for, as the soil is never dug, it gets hard and offers consider- 
able resistance to the roots, and its dense upper crust prevents the 
oxygen of the air from entering the earth and coming in contact 
with the rootlets. Some of the grasses and cyperaceaB which the 
planter finds it so difficult to get rid of, might be destroyed by 
cropping the ground with the Sweet Potato, which completely clears 
the ground of all the enemies of the coffee. Weeding is, from want 
of labour and to save expense, very often much neglected, the estate 


beinc sone over but two or three times in the course of the year, 
instead of once every six weeks or two months. On very steep land 
it is better not to remove the weeds during the monsoon, as they 
prevent the soil from being washed away. "Weeds should be buried 
or burnt. Piling them round the stem of the coffee is a most per- 
nicious system. 

Digging : — This operation is very seldom resorted to, partly on 
account of its expense, and partly because its importance is not 
sufficiently recognised. The tendency of the heavy rain is to wash 
all fertilising materials deep into the soil, and as these are never 
brought up, the roots of the plant are to a great extent starved. In 
many soils, especially those of a clayey nature, a good digging is 
as beneficial as the application of manure ; as by it fresh food is 
brought in contact with the feeders — the fibrils — of the root, and the 
lower portions of the soil exposed to the very beneficial action of 
the air and moisture. The common mamoty is a dangerous digging 
implement in a cooly's hand, as he goes recklessly to work, but too 
often cutting up the roots, and even hacking the stems of the plants. 
The forked mamoty should, therefore, be always employed in turn- 
ing up the soil on a coffee estate. Loosening of the soil is rather 
dangerous on very steep ground, but might be performed at a period 
of the year that would allow of its settling down, before the setting 
in of the rains. 

Draining : — Is of great importance on coffee estates, as not only 
does it withdraw the water stagnant and therefore injurious in the 
soil, but also prevents the washing away of the soil by rain. I have 
already noticed the extremes of moisture and drought to which the 
coffee tree in Southern India is subjected, and have no doubt the ill 
effects of the former would, to a great extent, be obviated by more ex- 
tensive drainage. In undrained land the water lodges, generates 
noxious gases, and so injures the roots of the plants. When drained, 
it filters through the soil, conveying fertilising materials, renewing 
the supply of air in the interstices, making the earth looser, and 
gradually converting organic and inorganic matters into food for 
the plant. It also enables the planter to dig in situations where the 
disturbance of the soil would otherwise be unsafe, and makes a <nven 
quantity of manure produce much better effects than in undraiued 
soil. The drains used on a coffee estate are all what is called surface 
drains, being open, about fifteen inches by fifteen inches, and having 
agradientof from one infifteen to onein twelve. They should be about 


fifteen or twenty yards apart in steep places, and mustbe watched and 
regularly cleared during the rains. In badly drained land the leaves 
of the coffee turn yellow, and the plants often rot at the roots and 
die. Sometimes during the rains they are affected with a disease 
called Rot, in which the tissues of the leaves undergo rapid decom- 
position, and the leaves turn black and fall off. There is no doubt, 
too, that the want of vigour displayed b}' the coffee on so many 
estates, and which predisposed them to attacks of the borer, has been 
partly produced by want of proper drainage ; and a good authority 
says, " that surface draining is the most profitable operation in coffee 
culture." Foresters at home well know its value, and thousands of acres 
of thriving timber plantations may be seen on bleak moors and moun- 
tain sides, which, but for the draining, would never have grown any 
tiling more valuable than heath or coarse grass. 

Pruning: — "When left to nature, the coffee tree in India be- 
comes an unsightly bush, with several stems which run up to the 
height of ten or twelve feet. The planter does not allow his trees to 
produce more than one stem, and he keeps this at a moderate height, 
and encourages the lateral expansion of the plant hy topping. In 
exposed situations the stem should not be allowed to exceed two or 
two and a half feet in height, as when higher, especialty if the soil be 
poor, it either withers at the top, or gets broken and killed by the mon- 
soon. In sheltered spots, stems may safely be allowed to attain the 
height of three or four feet. The object of topping is to keep the plant 
at a convenient height, to preserve it from injury from wind, and to 
cause it to throw out vigorous branches. The operation of pruning is 
resorted to with the view of increasing the amount of fruit, but as 
a rule, it is very badly done, and often all but neglected. In order 
that a tree may produce fruit, it must elaborate from the sap and 
have ready a certain amount of surplus nutritious matter, and this 
it is enabled to effect by the agency of the leaves. If, however, there 
is too much wood left on the plant, it draws on the reserve store, 
consuming what would otherwise have been expended in fruit bear- 
ing; and, on the other hand, should too much be removed, there is not 
sufficient leaf left to elaborate the secretions, and so the plant is 
checked and stunted, and the amount of crop diminished. It will 
thus be seen that pruning requires no little care and judgment, and 
the great aim of the planter should be to prune, so that there will 
be enough of bearing wood left to produce all the fruit that he thinks 
his tree capable of carrying, and enough of leaf to keep the tree in 


vigorous health and ripen the crop. It should also he his ohject, 
when the plants are young, to repress any tendency to overbearing, 
which weakens or fatally exhausts them, and when arrived at the 
stao-e of full bearing, to endeavour to get them to produce, as nearly 
as possible, the same amount of crop from year to year. As top- 
pin «• causes the coffee to assume a bushy habit, all the secondary 
branches growing within six inches of the stem should be removed, 
and the others so thinned, as that light and air may have free access 
to every part of the plant. The operation of pruning should be 
performed immediately after crop, as the plant is thus relieved, be- 
fore the trying hot season, of the drain of superfluous wood. Should 
pruning be delayed till the flowering season, the plant is needlessly 
taxed and weakened. A great deal of misconception exists on these 
points, and estates are, perhaps, oftener injured by neglect of or bad 
pruning, than any other cause. 

Manuring : — Until quite lately, manuring has been generally 
neglected on coffee estates, owners seeming to think that the natural 
resources of the soil were ample and inexhaustible. No greater mis- 
take could be imagined, and the farmer or market gardener who 
would act on the same principle in England, would simply be regard" 
ed as a lunatic. The coffee plant indeed, for its size, requires an 
unusually large amount of nutriment, and as its roots cannot «-o 
very far in search of this, the upper portion of the soil in which it 
grows soon gets exhausted, unless supplied with manure. In its 
application, the great aim should be to place it where it will 
be most accessible to the fibrils of the roots, by which it is taken 
up, and it should also be remembered that the more thoroughly 
it is pulverised and mixed with the soil, the better will it act. 
On laying bare the roots of a coffee tree it will be seen, that for 
some distance around the base of the stem there are few or 
none of the minute feeders, the fibrils, and hence manure deposited 
or dug in there must be of comparative^ little use. The pro- 
per place is immediately under the extreme ends of the branches, 
or a little beyond that, and the manure should be dug in at 
the season when vegetable growth is about to become most active, 
as absorption is then most vigorous. The proper period for 
manuring coffee in Southern India, is therefore, immediately after the 
pruning season, or about the time of flowering, and the operation is 
th en likely to increase the number of flower buds.* It would be 

and^p^\S: ti0Ularlyt,ie ^ Wlth maQ ™*^<* «Peedy action VfcTo 


impossible here to enter into the merits of the various manures that 
have been proposed or tried for coffee, or even to enumerate them 
all. The^great principle to be kept in view is, that they will keep 
the soil in a state of fertility by adding the substances withdrawn 
from it and not merely stir up or bring into use its original 
productive resources. Farm-yard and other natural manures, con- 
sistino- of the excreta of animals and decayed vegetable matter, are 
the most fertilising to the soil, but when applied freely, have a 
stron^ tendency to cause grasses to spring up. Bones form excellent 
manure for coffee land, and the finer the state of division to which 
they are reduced, the quicker and more efficiently will they act. In 
the state of superphosphate of lime (that is bones dissolved in 
vitriol) they are even more effectual, as that salt is for the most part 
soluble in water, and therefore readily absorbed. Lime is also an 
excellent application, but the planter in using it must remember, 
that he is drawing so to speak, on the capital in his soil, and should 
therefore restore the products removed by the plant, by the applica- 
tion of a natural manure. Lime acts chiefly by expediting the 
decay of organic substances, and setting free the alkalies. Guano 
is a manure more adapted for annual plants — such as root crops— 
than perennials. Its efficacy arises from the ammoniacal salts that 
it contains ■ and there seems little doubt that all highly azotised 
manures like it, stimulate vegetation chiefly by stirring up the 
natural resources of the soil. They, in short, stimulate but do not 
feed the land. To speak of the various patent manures now on 
sale would be impossible. To enable the planter to judge of their 
applicability for his purpose, he must find out the general composition 
and wants of his soil, and the ingredients contained in the manures, 
and to do this properly, he will require the aid of the agricultural 

Table of Manvres. 

Name of Manure. 

Quantity to be applied. 

Mode of application, &c. 

Farm-yard Manure... 

1 cooly load to each \ 
tree j 

6 cwt. per acre ... j 

In stiff clay soils apply fresh dung, as it 
helps to loosen and open them: in 

sandy or porous soils apply -^ell rotted 

The smaller they are broken, the quicker 

and more effectually do they act. 


Table of Manures. — (Concluded. ) 

Name of Manure. 

Superphosphate of 
lime ... 


Poouac (oil cake) .. 


Wood ashes ... .. 

Quantity to be applied. 

2 to 3 -cwts. per acre. 

3 cwts. per acre ... < 
8 cwts. per acre ... 1 

S to 10 cwts. per acre, i 

10 or 12 bushels per j 

Mode of application, &c. 

Should be mixed with ashe.=<, and will be 
more effectual if combined with farm- 
yard manure. 

Must he reduced to fine powder, and to 
ensure equal distribution, be mixed 
with two or three times its weight of 
dry earth. 

Should be reduced to fine powder, and 
well mixed with the soil. 

Should be applied immediately after 
slaking, and not put too deep, as it 
gradually sinks into the soil. Not to 
be applied -at same time as other 

Must not be buried too deep. 

N.B. — Tke usual method a/ applying manure by placing it in a pit near the foot of 
the tree is a very rude and imMeful plan. 

Reviewing the whole system and state of coffee culture ia 
Southern India there seems great room for improvement, the soil 
and trees being in a great measure left in a state of nature. 
Digging, the most essential of all horticultural operations, is very 
rarely practised, and draining is not sufficiently attended to, while 
the only manure that the ground receives, is that supplied by nature 
in the shape of withered vegetation, and rain ! Weeds, those arch- 
enemies of cultivated plants, are allowed to run riot, and pruning 
is rarely performed oftener than once in one or two years. As 
already stated, too, not a few mistakes have been made in the 
selection of land. In some cases the sites chosen have been in 
exposed places too near the crest of the Ghats, so that 3-ear after 
year the plants have perished from the severity of the monsoon. In 
other instances they were too far to the east, and the trees died from 
the combined effects of drought, exhaustion, and borer. One other 
very common mistake has been the opening and planting of more 
land than the owner had means to cultivate properly, and this 
appears to have been occasioned chiefly by the exaggerated ideas, at 
one time entertained, as to the profits of coffee culture; men seeming to 
think that coffee crops were not liable to variation or accident, and 
that their gain would be in exact proportion to the extent of their 
estates. Such ideas, it need hardly be said, have received a ruds 


shock, .and a dear-bought experience has led many to see, that one 
acre highly cultivated will be more profitable than ten managed 
according to the ordinary system. In every part of the world, where 
education has triumphed over barbarism, the advantages of high 
culture for all kinds of crops have been practically recognised, so 
much so, that the state of agriculture in any country may be taken 
as a gauge of its degree of civilization. That planters generally 
should have so persistently adhered to a bad system, seems to have 
arisen from the fact that nearly all of them were unacquainted with 
the ordinary principles that guide the cultivator of the soil. A 
change of system is now urgently wanted, and owners must make 
up their minds to a great increase in working expenses, in order to 
realise the large profits which this branch of industiy is doubtless 
capable of yielding. When such an augmentation may be impracti- 
cable, then the better course will be to abandon all the poorer parts 
of estates, and concentrate the labour and resources at command 
on the remainder. Indeed, I would recommend this measure to be 
adopted on all estates, no matter what the resources of the proprie- 
tors, as from various causes a vast amount of utterly worthless land 
has been reclaimed, and never has or can be made to pay the mere 
cost of keeping it clean. Of course, high culture is equally neces- 
sary, whether the estate be without any protection or in shade, and 
the above remarks are equally applicable to either mode of cultiva- 
tion. An unhealthy stimulus was also given to coffee culture by 
the meretricious value for some time put on such property, as this 
enabled planters to get aid from capitalists with an ease, and to an 
extent far beyond safe limits. For a time all went on apparently 
flourishing, and all concerned congratulated themselves on their 
bright prospects, but a few bad seasons, the ravages of the borer, 
and a crisis in the money market, induced a severe reaction. Coffee 
shares, at the present moment, are all but unsaleable, while estates 
have become sadly depreciated in value, and are looked on as very 
questionable securities. The effect of all this has been to place the 
planter in a most trying position, and in some cases his difficulties 
have been such as to force him to neglect, or even abandon really 
good property. The alarm about the borer, too, was at one time so 
great, that even men of ample means paused and curtailed their 
expenses, a step which in some instances, I have no doubt, brought 
upon them the very evil they dreaded, as a neglected estate is 
almost certain to become infested with this terrible pest. It is to 

be hoped, however, that the severe ordeal through which coffee cul- 
ture is now passing, will lend to its being established ou a firmer 
basis, conducted within much safer limits, and carried on in an im- 
proved manner. No fact should be more strongly impressed on tho 
mind of the planter, than that cheap and careless culture will 
always be profitless culture. The coffee plant is an exotic, and to be 
productive, it must be placed in the most favourable circumstances, 
and carefully tended. There is no domesticated plant in existence 
that does not require such attention, as it is leading an artificial life, 
and it has become an established maxim both on farm and garden, 
that the higher the cultivation, the greater will be the amount of 
crop and profit. 


Xylotrechus quadrupes (Cheiir.) Order, Caleoptera ; Fam. 
Cerambycidoe. Synonyms — Ctytus coffeophagus, (Dunning) ; Clytus 
macaensis ; Clytus — ? (Neitner) ; Clytus—? (Bidie) ; Coffee Fly; 
Borer Beetle : and of the Larva, the Borer ; White Borer; and the 

Description of the Beetle. — See Figs. S and 4, PI. iii. 

This is a very pretty insect, being slender and elegant in form, 
and beautifully colored. The female is distinguished from the male 
by her superior size, and by the ovipositor being often partially 
protruded. She is generally from six to seven-tenths of an inch in 
length, and measures from eight to nine-tenths across the wings. 
The male is considerably smaller. 

Head depressed and flattened in front, posterior portion lustrous 
black, anterior portion pale greyish-green from numerous hairs of 
that colour. 

LabTUTfl slightly exserted and rounded. 

Mandibles horny, robust, sharp-pointed and incurved. 

Maxillary palpi somewhat slender and clavate, the last joint 
long and thick. See Fig. 3, PI. iv. 

Labial palpi clavate, with the last joint thick and slightly 

Eyes lunate, curved round the angles of the head, large and 


Antenna) of moderate length, eleven jointed, filiform, firsfe 
joint longest, thickest and curved ; third, fourth, fifth, and sixth 
joints slightly dentate. See Fig. 1, PI. iv. 

Prothorax round or slightly oval, globular, covered with greyish- 
preen minute hairs, and marked above with a black spot, and on 
each side with a black dot. 

Elytra sometimes scarcely covering the abdomen, broad at their 
base and very slightly tapering, convex, rounded at their extremities> 
black, marked with white or yellow transverse diagonal and curved 
lines, the last of which form three figures like the inverted letter V. 

Legs the front pair shortest, the second pair longer, and the 
last pair about as long as the body : four posterior femora of a pink 
colour, third joint of the tarsi bifid, and the last armed with a sharp 
double hook. See Fig. 2, PI. iv. 

Pupa : — The insect in this stage of its existence is generally 
found in a roomy cell prepared by the larva, immediately under, or 
only separated by a thin layer of wood, from the bark of the tree. 
It is shorter and thicker than the larva, and exhibits the antenna?, 
limbs, elytra, &c, disposed in the manner usual in the family. Sec 
Fig. 2, PI. iii. 

Larva is at first not more than the tenth of an inch in length, 
and very slender. When full-grown it is from three-fourths to one inch 
in length, broadest at the head, and gradually tapering towards the 
other extremity, of a pale yellow or whitish colour, and fleshy 
consistence. The body consists generally of eleven segments, and is- 
apodous, but three or four of the abdominal rings are each provided 
clorsally with a tubercle, which aids the insect in moving forwards, 
and in fixing its body while lengthening its tunnel. The head is hard 
and seal}', flattened above, and armed with very powerful mandibles 
(See Fig. 4, PI. iv.. ; Fig. 5, gives a side view of a mandible,) with 
which it reduces the wood to a fine powder. This forms the food 
of the voracious creature, and having passed through its body, is 
compacted behind it in the tunnel, and so agglutinated by some 
mucilagenous fluid, that it may be removed like a cast of plaster of 
paris. — See Figs. 1 & 6, PI. iii. 

Ova : — The eggs (Fig. 5, PI. iii.) are placed deep in the little 
cracks,* which always abound in the bark, and fixed by some secre- 
tion that is voided at the time of deposition. The ovipositor is a 
telescopic split tube, and when not in use, is drawn up into its sheath,. 

• See Fig. 6, PI. iv. 


■which terminates the abdomen. It is capable of being protruded to a 
considerable length, which enables the female to place the eggs out 
of the reach of danger, and is armed at its extremity with two little 
round bodies bearing a few hairs, which are probably used to clear 
out and enlarge the crevice where the eggs are placed. It is difficult 
to ascertain the number which one female will lay, but the average 
is probabty from 150 to 200. The eggs are placed in little clusters 
containing from five to eight each. They are very small, about the 
size of a pin point, and of a white color. Under a low magnifying 
power, they are found to consist of a pearly-white thin membrane, 
and are of apyriform shape. They gradually enlarge in length as the 
embryo progresses, until at length the little larva can be seen 
through the membrane. They are mostly deposited in sunny places, 
and hot sunshine favours, while cold damp weather retards or pre- 
vents their hatching. Heavy showers destroy them, an4 they are 
eaten by several minute insects. They are not often deposited, and 
do not hatch readily in shade. 

General History of the Insect : — When the beetle emerges 
from its pupa covering, it finds itself in a dark chamber. At this 
time it has not attained its full size ; the hard case of the body is 
not so strong as it afterwards becomes, and the colours of the 
elytra and other parts of the body are dull or imperfect. Accord- 
ingly, it remains in the place of its birth from three to ten days, 
until eveiy part of its frame has attained its due development, when; 
moved by irresistible instinct, it sets to work, and with its powerful 
jaws cuts a tunnel through the barrier that separates its cell from 
the surface of the tree — (See Fig. 6 a, PI, iv). One might suppose 
that in performing this operation, the little creature would be just as 
likely to go in the wrong as the right direction, but this is prevented 
by the larva when about to be transformed into the pupa state, 
always going to rest with its head towards the exterior of the tree. 
Very often, as will be seen in Fig. 6, PL iii., the larva carries on 
its work of destruction in the root of the tree, and were it to 
undergo its transformations below ground, the beetle would never 
be able to escape. With marvellous instinct, however, the borer 
always returns to the stem to prepare the cell for the pupa and 
beetle, except in some rare instances in which the surface of a root 
has become exposed to the air by the washing away of the soil. 
The beetles may be met with at all seasons, but are most plenti- 
ful just after the monsoon, and throughout the dry season. They 


live from twelve to twenty days, apparently feeding on vegetable 
matter, but are not often seen at large, although sometimes met with 
ou the leaves or bark of the coffee tree. They delight in bright 
sunshine, and are very active in their movements and not easily 
caught. At the season when most abundant, they sometimes appear 
in considerable numbers in the windows of the planter's bungalow ; 
and walking through a field of coffee it is no unusual thing to find 
two or three adhering to one's clothes. Trees attacked by the borer 
always occur in patches, the mischief beginning in one and gradually 
extending to the others. The females in general select warm sunny 
places for depositing their eggs, avoiding exposed and shady situa- 
tions. Indeed, shade seems to be obnoxious to them, and when the 
ova chance to be deposited in trees protected by it, they do not hatch. 
The female beetle is much more numerous than the male, and is 
active during her whole life in depositing ova. "When engaged in 
this operation, she moves about briskly on the bark of the coffee tree, 
looking for a convenient crack or chink in the bark, and having found 
this, the ovipositor is rapidly inserted, and a few eggs deposited and 
fastened in their place, where they are so securely hidden, that they 
can only be seen by carefully removing some of the outer portion of 
the bark. In from eight to fifteen days they are hatched, and the 
young grub, a very minute creature, begins to exercise its mandibles, 
and derives sustenance from the inner jnicy layers of the bark. It s 
presence there causes the outer portion to rise in a well denned ridge 
(See a, Fig. 6, PI. iv.) as if a wire had been passed between it and the 
wood. This is an unfailing symptom of the enemy having taken 
possession of the plant, and enables the planter to detect an infested 
tree long before any other signs of the scourge have become manifest. 
As the larva increases in size and strength, it dips into the tender 
young wood, and at length drives its tunnel in all directions, having 
apparently rather a predilection for the hardest and most sapless 
portions of the stem. As will be seen from Fig. 6 of PI. iii, the tunnel 
pursues a very winding course, but rarely touches that of another 
individual, and never emerges on the surface of the stem. The empty 
part of the tunnel in which the borer lives is rather longer than itself, 
but it pushes forward and fixes its body by the dorsal abdominal 
tubercles, and the rings generally. The tunnel is lengthened by the 
action of the powerful gouge-like mandibles (See Fig. 5, PI. iv.) and 
the wood powder having passed through the intestine of the grub is, as 
already mentioned, excreted and firmly compacted behind it. The 


work of destruction is carried on b}' the larva for about or a little 
more than nine months, when, working its way towards the surface 
of the stem, it prepares a chamber immediately under, or but a short 
distance from the bark, in which it goes to rest, and becomes trans- 
formed into the pupa. In this state it continues for from thirty to 
fifty days, the time depending a good deal on the state of the wea- 
ther. The entire existence of the insect, from the deposition of the 
ovum till the death of the beetle, does not exceed twelve months, 
and in this it differs from other members of the Cerambycida3, who 
are said to pass from two to three years in the larva state ; although, 
it must be confessed, that we have but little accurate information 
concerning the obscurer points of their life-history. As regards 
the coffee borer, there can be no doubt that the life of an individual 
in all its stages is comprised within twelve months, as instances 
have repeatedly come to my notice of the beetle existing in stems 
less than eighteen months old. The season at which the beetles 
appear differs slightl}' in different districts, but there is generally 
a numerous brood on the wing after the monsoon, and again about 
the middle or end of the dry season. The eggs are also, of course, 
deposited at these seasons, and the pupae are to be met with in great- 
est abundance in the month of September, or about the beginning 
of October. A small per-centage of the pupse are abortive, or decay 
from water getting admission by old holes through which beetles 
have escaped, and it sometimes happens that the chamber in which 
the beetle appears, is so far from the surface of the stem, that it is 
never able to effect its escape. 

Symptoms of the presence of Borer in a tree: — The first sio-n of 
the borer being in a tree is the ridge on the bark, already alluded 
to, which is generally found near the base of the stem, — See a¥'\<y. 6, 
PL iv. "When the work of destruction has gone on for some time, 
the older leaves turn yellow, while the younger ones have often a 
curly or waved appearance, and are of an unhealthy pale green 
colour. As the energies of the tree get exhausted, old leaves drop off, 
and sometimes a great many young shoots appear on the stem and 
primaries, as if the plant were trying thus to maintain its existence. 
If the tree is bearing crop at this time, much of it falls off, "while 
the remainder passes from a sickly-green into a yellow colour, and 
finally gets black. At length, when the circulation of the sap is 
ar-ested by the nearly total destruction of the roots and stem* the 
whole plant withers, and if a shake or wrench be now given, it 


will snap across. Trees much injured by borer are often covered 
with lichens, and many planters think that even when looking 
pretty green, the}' have not so firm a hold of the ground as sound 
trees. Such trees also occasionally put forth an unusal amount 
of blossom, an incident by no means uncommon in plants in a sickly 
state, but a great many of the flowers prove abortive, and the fruit 
which is produced is of inferior quality, or does not arrive at maturit} 7 . 

Injuries inflicted on the Stem, and Boots by the Larva : — 
During the earlier years of the ravages of the borer, the general 
immunity of young coffee trees led many to think, that only old 
trees were liable to its attacks. More extended experience, however, 
has shown that a coffee tree is just as likely to be assailed the 
day it is planted, as at any future period, but with this important 
difference in the results, that while an old tree may recover, a 
young one rarely or never does. In a young plant the ova are de- 
posited six or eight inches from the bottom of the stem, and when 
hatched, the larvae go down to the thickest portion and to the tap- 
root, which they shortly reduce, to powder, only leaving the bark 
intact. In a stem not thicker than the little finger at the base, I 
have found as many as two beetles, one pupa, and four larvae. In 
large stems the borer often tunnels only within a foot or eighteen 
inches of the bottom of the tree, but usually the depredations extend 
throughout the entire stem. In most cases when the grubs are 
numerous, they attack the roots as well as the stem, but by a mar- 
vellous instinct, as already stated, never by any chance remain 
there to undergo the changes into pupa and imago. On lookin fl- 
at the exterior of a stem that has for some time been infested with 
the borer, numerous small holes through which the beetles escaped 
will be seen (See Fig. 6, PI. iv,) and the bark, according to the 
extent of the depredations, will either be dry and cracked, or 
completely withered, while some of the primaries may have dis- 
appeared, leaving a cicatrix, the furrows on which intimate that 
they were actually amputated by this destructive creature. If the root 
remains safe, some of the lower branches may continue green and 
bear fruit, while the upper parts of the stem is dead and generally 
devoid of branches. In young trees that have perished from borer, 
the cause of death is not always very apparent until they are broken, 
but in old ones the tell-tale holes through which the beetles have 
worked their way to freedom, light and air, at once indicate the cause 
of the disaster. The damage done to the roots is usually very exten- 


sivc, as tlie larvae, after descending, find it necessary to return again, 
«nd thus the consumption of sound wood is greatly increased, for 
unlike biped and quadruped miners, the borer is compelled to find 
food where it is at work, and eats all that it excavates. On laying 
open the stem a number of curved markings, as in Fig. 6, PI. iii, 
will be seen, which are the tunnels of the larva filled with its 
woody excrement. Sometimes these are so numerous as hardly to 
leave ai^ sound wood, and, of course, the chance of the tree dying 
will be in proportion to the amount of damage it has sustained. 
When bored trees begin to sicken, the large red-ants are very fond 
of getting into them, and shortly clear out the borer's tunnels, not 
leaving a particle of the wood powder.* Trees in which this has 
taken place are sure to perish, as both air and water readily gain 
access to every part of the interior. The tunnels of the borer are 
very tortuous, but still so long as there is plenty of sound wood 
in the stem, it is a rare thing to see two of them touch the other, 
but as the wood gets gnawed away, they get so close, more especi- 
ally in the middle of the tree, as not to leave an atom unconsumed. 
Accordingly, when the ants enter and clear out the debris, there is 
a great irregular jagged canal left, an inch or more in diameter. 
When a stem is recovering from the effects of the borer, the holes 
in the exterior are filled up by the first annual ring of new wood 
that is deposited, but the damage in the interior of the tree can 
never be repaired. 

Is the Borer indigenous ? — This is a question of great import- 
ance, and I have no hesitation in answering it in the affirmative. 
So far as historical evidence goes, it is in favour of this view, for 
many years ago a specimen of the beetle was got somewhere in 
Southern India by Chevrolat. I have also learned from good autho- 
rity that it was well known nearly thirty years ago in native gar- 
dens amid the wilds of the Baba-boodens, into which it is impos- 
sible to conceive its having been introduced from any other part 
of the world. Indeed, so far as is known, it is peculiar to India, 
and this feature of its history, if confirmed by future observation, 
will put an end to all speculation as to how and whence it came, 
I have also observed it in stations so far remote from the coffee 
zone, as to preclude the idea of the insect having travelled over the 
intervening distance, and place it beyond, doubt that it must have 
belonged to the local insect fauna. If further proof be necessarv, 

* TLev also kill the Borer. 


it will be found in the fact of the borer having suddenly appeared 
in one season in so many districts of the country — districts sepa- 
rated by miles of forest and lofty hills — whereas, if it had been 
introduced, it would have appeared in one place merely and have gra- 
dually spread around that centre. So far as I am aware, the beetle 
of the borer has not been found in any indigenous tree, but that 
may, to a great extent, be accounted for hy the circumstances, that 
it is difficult to discover whether or not a jungle tree is being 
preyed on by borers of this one's habits, and even when their pre- 
sence is suspected, it is but rare that one can have the time and 
means to cut down and examine a large tree. In the orange and 
Grewia larvae are found, which in appearance are identical with 
those of the Xylotrechus, and there is strong reasons for believing 
that the}^ belong to it, as the shape and habits of the grub are very 
characteristic, and it is nearly the only member of its family truly 
apodous. I have found another beetle belonging to the genus 
Clytus, to which the borer was originally referred, in forest trees, 
but although the grub of it has a strong resemblance to thatofXylo- 
trechus, it is at once distinguished by the fact, that it only attacks 
dead wood. It is not very common, but will sometimes be found 
in the stump of a Jamoon tree. As the borer belongs to the fauna 
of the coffee zone, it is not to be anticipated that it will ever dis- 
appear. Indeed, the occurrences of recent years would seem ta 
show, that the conditions which favor its multiplication have been 
on the increase, and that, therefore, its permanent existence is on a 
safer footing than ever. These are, no doubt, unpleasant truths, but 
they are so supported by evidence from various quarters, that not a 
shadow of doubt can arise regarding them. It is also consolatory 
to know, that all sudden outbreaks of hosts of insects destructive 
to crops have disappeared or been reduced within moderate bounds, 
either suddenly or gradually, when left in the hands of nature ; and 
there is no reason to suppose that the invasion of the terrible coffee 
borer will be an exception to the general rule. As has already, and 
as will hereafter be more fully shown too, a great deal can be done 
by the planter so as to render his plantation less liable to its 

Causes that have rendered ike Borer so numerous and destruc- 
tive : — The causes that induce the undue multiplication of a species 
of insect, so as to render it a pest, are so numerous and obscure, 
as to render the subject one of the most difficult that can, 


engage the attention of the naturalist. An abnormal season, a 
particular wind, the disappearance of an insectivorous bird or pre- 
dacious beetle, the introduction of a new plant or insect, the 
destruction of a particular plant on which some species used to feed, 
the sweeping away of forest and consequent disturbance of balance 
in the local fauna, the neglect or abandonment of cultivated land, 
and other circumstances of kindred nature, may each or all be the 
chief agents in calling forth hosts of noxious insects. In proceed- 
ing with such an inquir}' then, as that of the borer pest, much 
cautious and patient observation is necessary, and the temptation 
to, and opportunities for speculation being great, conclusions reached 
per saitum must be avoided, and truth patiently worked out from 
facts furnished by nature. The first step must be to ascertain every 
thing connected with the habits and economy of the insect, which 
its size and other peculiarities render by no means easy, and as the 
time required by an individual to pass through the various stages 
of its life is often protracted, the observations must necessarily 
extend over a considerable period. The next object will be to 
ascertain what local peculiarities, likely to increase or diminish the 
insect, may exist, and with this view the meteorological history of 
the district must be scanned for any peculiarities of seasons, changes 
in local flora and fauna noted, and the geological features and na- 
ture of surface formations ascertained. I have made these remarks 
to show how the conclusions about to be given have been arrived 
at, and should thej' differ from those of others, the discrepancy will 
probably be found to have arisen from their having preferred the 
empirical to the inductive method of inquiry. Plants in a sickly 
condition, arising from poverty of soil, exhaustion from cropping, 
weedy ground, general neglect, or any other cause, are more liable to 
be attacked by insects than such as are in a more vigorous state. 
The moment a plant begins to flag, it becomes a fit field for animal 
and vegetable parasites. The former prey on its leaves, bark, or 
wood, greedily devouring them, while the latter draw on the juices 
of the plant, reducing them in quantity, and depriving them of im- 
portant constituents. By unfortunate but inevitable sequence toc t 
the presence of these parasites aggravates the very condition that 
invited them, and thus bad goes on to worse. In some instances 
the attacks of an insect are the primary cause of disease in a plant, 
but this is not the case as regards this eneni}' of the coffee tree. 
When plants,, apparently healthy, become a prey to it, a careful 


examination will either detect some obscure mischief, or they will 
be found in the neighbourhood of infested trees, where the chances 
of attack are greatly increased, the insect alwaj'S working round a 
centre, and not apparently caring to undertake a long flight when 
it finds a coffee tree at hand. Assuming then that impairment in 
vigour is, as a rule, necessary to render a tree liable to suffer from 
the borer, it follows, as a matter of course, that the coffee plant 
throughout the whole of the coffee zone in Southern India must, 
of late years, have been more or less unhealthy, seeing that the 
insect has been so prevalent and destructive. There is no doubt, 
too, considering the vast tract over which it has extended, that 
this abnormal condition of the plant lias been the result of some 
very general causes. The most obvious of these are the preva- 
lence of a system of culture unsuited to the plant, and a neglect 
of the ordinary operations of garden management ; but I believe 
that unusual atmospherical conditions, viz., a cycle of dry seasons, 
have had nearly, if not quite as great an influence in reducing 
the vital powers of the tree. At the same time, these droughts 
have rendered the insect infinitely more, prolific, for it loves sun- 
shine and a dry hot atmosphere, and many more of the eggs hatch in 
a droughty than in a moist season. In short, then, inferior culture 
and unusual drought have been the chief causes which have ren- 
dered the borer so numerous of late years. In inferior culture I 
include the absence of shade, as I consider that the neglect of it is 
of all things the most conducive to the increase of the borer. In 
Munzerabad, where shade is common, nearlj- every estate not so 
protected has either been completely destroyed or seriously damag- 
ed, while those under shade have suffered but very little. In the 
other districts, too, the comparative immunity of estates and gardens 
under sufficient shade is very remarkable. It is curious to notice in 
walking over an estate in which the protecting trees occur in clumps, 
the effects of the different degrees of shade, the plants which do not 
receive the direct rays of the sun being tall, green and free 
from borer, while those that are in bright light and exposed to the 
sun during a part of the day, are sickly or dead, and full of grubs 
and holes. In most cases the exact limits and shape of the shadow 
of a clump of trees is as accurately depicted by the state of the 
coffee, as if it had been drawn on paper by a sketcher's pencil. 
I have no doubt the great cause of coffee trees in shade escaping 
from borer is their superior vigour. Another reason is, that the 


beetle dislikes shade and shuns it, the dim light, and the state of 
the atmosphere there being disagreeable to it, and unfavourable for 
the multiplication of its species. The other defects in culture have 
been fully noticed already. As a minor, but also potent cause of the 
great prevalence of the borer, f may mention the cutting down of 
forest, which has not only deprived the larva of its natural food, 
but driven away some of the enemies, which were wont to prey on 
and keep it in check. In the natural forest there is a beautiful 
balance between the various members of the fauna, and between 
noxious insects and their enemies, but when man steps in with his 
axe, all this is disturbed. It is a mistake, however, to suppose that 
insectivorous birds are frightened away by forest denudation. Some 
of the very few that live in dense forests in Southern India may have 
been so, but as a rule, they increase in clearings, and have undoubtedly 
done so on coffee estates. The causes, then, that have chiefly 
produced such a great increase in the borer may be briefly summed 
upas follows — drought, want of shade, bad culture, destruction of 
forest trees in which the insect used to live, and departure of some 
of its enemies. 



The manner in which insects that prey on cultivated plants 
suddenly appear in devastating hosts, and again disappear or de- 
crease, is truly marvellous. Of such occurrences, the world's history 
furnishes us with numerous examples, the invasions of the locust 
being, perhaps, the most familiar and terrible. The raids of this 
insect are chiefly confined to the African Continent and European 
countries on the shores of the Mediterranean, but the Southern 
Mahratta country was many years ago ravaged bj' a red locust 
which appeared in a column hundreds of miles long, and so dense 
that it completely obscured the sun.* In the case of the locust and 
some other insects, it is the imago that proves destructive, but more 
frequently it is the larva, insects in that stage being most voracious,f 
while their numbers* more than compensate for their limited 

* Kirby aud Spence, p. 1 27- 

+ See Westwood's Entomological Text Book, p. 1S9. 

+ But a very small uumber of larvie attain the imago, or perfect stage, their foes, in 
the shape of other iusects and birds, beiug innumerable. 


powers of locomotion. A notable instance of the destructive 
powers of a grub was exhibited in the case of the Hessian Fly 
(Cecidomyia destructor) in America, its depredations having nearly 
exterminated and put a stop to the culture of wheat over a large 
tract of country. In England, there is the Wire-worm (Elater line- 
aris) so fatal to grass and cereals, and a countless array of cater- 
pillars that prey on the monarch s of the forest, the shrubs on the 
lawn, and every kind of farm and garden produce. In France, the 
caterpillar of a small moth (Tortrix vitana) does incalculable 
injury to the vines, and some years ago in the West Indies, and in 
1856 in the Mauritius, the caterpillar of a white moth, (Phalsena 
saccharalis) proved so destructive to sugar-cane plantations, as 
almost to put a stop to that branch of industry. The larva was 
called the Cane borer, from its habit of boring into the canes, where 
it committed such havoc as to completely destroy them in a very- 
short time.* The insects called borers, that in the larva state, live 
in the interior of woody stems, are very numerous. A few of them 
belong to the Lepidoptera, such as the Goat-moth caterpillar which 
destroys the stems of English forest trees, the grub of one of the 
Hepialidee that tunnels our charcoal tree (Sponia Wightii), and 
the " Red borer" (Zeuzera), so well known to the coffee planter. 
The majority of borers, however, belong to the order of beetles, and 
are very numerous and widely distributed. Fortunately they do 
not, as a rule, attack living wood, although to this there are numerous 
exceptions. A serricorn beetle, the Lvmexylon navale, is in the 
larva state very destructive in the oak forests of the north of Europe, 
and at one time did great damage in the dock}'ards of Toulon. 
Many years ago it appeared in devouring hosts in the Royal dock- 
yards of Sweden, and Linnaeus having been consulted on the sub- 
ject, advised the submersion in water of the timber at the season 
when the insect was depositing its eggs, a measure that effectually- 
put a stop to its depredations. The longicorn family of beetles un- 
doubtedly yields the largest number of ligniperdolis species, the 
larvae of the Piionidae and Cerambycidco being especially destruc- 
tive, and well known both in Europe and India. Some years ago 
Lamia sentis did considerable injury to soft- wooded trees in Bombay,f 
and of late a borer that attacks the Casuarina tree about Madras was 
presented to the Entomological Societ} 7 by Dr. Cleghorn, and recog- 

• Westwood Gard. Chron. 1856, p. 453. 

t Journal of Royul Asiatic Society of Bombay, vol. i., p. 136. 


nised as the Cerosterna gladiator. In the New World the Clytas 
speciosus commits terrible havoc in the valuable sugar-maple trees 
and the Clytus pictus is not less destructive to the Locust-tree 
Robinia pseud-acacia.* It would be impossible, as it would be use- 
less to allude here to all the insects that prey on cultivated plants, 
but it is important to note that in every instance in which a noxious 
insect has suddenly increased so as to become a pest, the invasion 
has rapidly or gradually declined when left to the hands of nature, 
who has her checks in other members of the animal creation, and 
destining agencies in sudden changes of temperature, deluges of 
rain or the dread tempest. f It may be safety said that every 
plant in nature has its special insect foe, some tiny creature that 
feeds on it, and that when that fails, or proves insufficient, the 
insect resorts to some other of an allied description. Were it not 
so the coffee shrub, which is an exotic in most countries in which 
it is cultivated, might be free from such marauders, but instead 
of that, it seems to encounter a special host of indigenous insect 
enemies in every land to which it has been transported. Mr. 
Neitner in his " Enemies of the Coffee tree in Ceylon," describes 
twenty insects that prey on it, and says that this list " might 
easily be doubled." Porter in his " Tropical Agriculturist" men- 
tions two that attack it in the West Indies, probably a Saw 
Fly and the While Bug ; and Kirby and Spence (Introduction to 
Entomology) speak of the larva of a little moth that ravages 
the plantations in Guadeloupe. In Agassiz's " Journe}' in Brazil," 
we are told that coffee plantations often look ragged and thin 
from the ravages of a Tinea, which spins its cocoon on the leaf, 
and that the Suaba ants(Ecodoma cephalotis) also do immense injury 
to coffee, b}' cutting out patches from the leaves. Of all the enemies 
of the coffee plant in the east, the bug (Lecanium coffea?), was, until 
the borer appeared, the most prevalent and the most destructive ; 
but since the latter grew so numerous, the former has come to be 
looked on as a minor evil, as it merely damages, while the other, as 
a rule, kills the subject of its attack. The larva, called the borer, has 

• Treas. of Nat. Hist. (1862), p 135. 

+ At one time Formica Analis, an ant, proved so destructive to the sugar-cane in 
Granada, as to put a complete stop to its cultivation. A reward of twenty thousand 
pounds was offered to any one who would discover an effectual mode of destroying it, 
but no remedy was found until Providence sent a tempest of rain and wind which anni. 
hilated the destructive hosts. — Kerby and Spence, p. 102. 


for many years been known on coffee plantations in Southern India 
as the tvorm, and the beetle as the coffee-fly. A rather curious 
feature in the history of the insect is, that it does not attack the 
coffee tree in Ce}<lon, although existing in jungle trees there, and I 
think we may safely infer from this circumstance, that our coffee 
tree, which is exactly the same species as that grown in Ceylon, 
must, as already stated, have been in an unhealthy condition to render 
it liable to the depredations of the borer. 

Nuggur : — In Nuggur the borer has been noticed for about 
thirty years in the gardens that belonged to Baba-booden, but 
it does not, for fifteen or twenty years subsequently, appear to 
have multiplied to any extent, and only attacked worn out or 
drought-exhausted trees. Within the last nine years it has become 
very numerous, appearing wherever there hasbeen coffee to consume, 
and attacking trees of all ages unprotected b}' shade. On one 
estate, in 1860, in which the shade trees had here and there died 
out, some 60,000 plants were destroyed, and taking the whole 
district, the mean loss cannot be less than live per cent. Of late, 
the scourge has been on the decline, most of the weakly and 
exposed trees that suffered from it having died out and been 
removed. The alarm regarding it is also subsiding, it being found 
that well-shaded trees rarely suffer or die. 

Munzerabad : — In this district Europeans state that they 
have noticed the borer for about twelve years, while maistries and 
native planters profess a knowledge of it for fifteen or twenty 
years. Here, as in Nuggur, it has become much more common 
within the last eight or ten years, and for three or four years its 
ravages have created great anxiety. Taking the whole district it 
may be said, that the loss has been nearly in exact proportion to 
the decree of exposure of the plants to the direct rays of the sun, 
and such being the case, all alarm has nearly subsided, the planter 
feeling that in shade he has a nearly perfect preventive. The 
epidemic has undoubted!} 7 been most severe in dry eastern situa- 
tions, but there is not an estate in the district on which the insect 
has not made its appearance. One singular case of immunity came 
to my notice in an estate lying far out to the west amongst the 
crests of the ghats, and unprotected by shade. It was situated in 
a ravine opening to the south west, and all the trees showed 
symptoms of having to fight a hard battle with the monsoon. To 
this, however, I attribute its safety from borer, the severity of the 

climate being such as to deter or destroy the insect. Of European 
property in the open, about fifteen hundred acres have been nearty 
completely denuded of coffee, and vvhat remains is of comparatively 
small exteut, and far from promising. On estates under shade the loss 
varies, being almost nil where the protection is sufficient, and ranging 
from three to four per cent, when it is less so. In some cases, where 
attempts were made to cultivate under sparse shade, with the view of 
securing some of the advantages that attend culture in the open, the 
destruction has been very heavj', averaging from twenty to thirty per 
cent., and, in others in which artificial shade was reared some time 
subsequent to the planting of the coffee, it varies from eight to ten 
per cent. Taking the whole of the properly shaded coffee in the dis- 
trict, the mean average loss Avould amount to about three per cent., 
and in addition to this, probably about five per cent, of trees have been 
injured by the borer, but are still alive and likely to recover. On 
native estates, the loss has been somewhat heavier, rancrincr from 
three to five per cent., and a fair average for the whole would be about 
four per cent. ; while of injured trees likely to recover, there would 
be from six to eight percent. The greater damage sustained by this 
class of property is easily accounted for, by the inferior style of culture 
generally followed by native owners. Adopting these estimates then, 
the mean total loss on all shaded estates in Munzerabad amounts 
to 35 per cent., and as will presently be seen, is very small in com- 
parison with the damage sustained in other districts. 

Coorg : — In Coorg the borer has been noticed more or less 
during the last twelve years. It first made its appearance in the hot 
lateritic districts of Southern Coorg, but for some years did not 
attract much attention. In 1865, it spread to other parts of the dis- 
trict, and in 186(3, it multiplied as if by some miraculous power, 
appearing everywhere, and exciting general anxiety. In the sprino- 
of 1867, the mortality amongst trees was so general, sudden, and 
extensive, that many anticipated the complete extirpation of the 
plant, and with ruin apparently staring them in the face, could no 
longer conceal their fears. From time to time accordingly, various 
communications appeared in the columns of the local papers, givino- 
gloomy accounts of the state of affairs, and anxiously enquiring 
after some means that would enable the planter to destroy this tiny 
but terrible enemy to his crops. As might have been expected, a 
good deal of crude advice was offered. Some of the remedies pro- 


posed were manifestly absurd,* and others impracticable on the 
large scale, so that, on the whole, these appeals did not elicit much 
really valuable information. In the month of October 1867, the 
attention of the Supreme Government was attracted to the subject, 
and as the sandalwood in Coorg was also said to be suffering from the 
ravages of a borer, it was deemed necessary to order a special official 

Dividing Coorg into two districts, as naturally divided by the 
Caii very, the greatest damage from the ravages of the insect has 
been sustained in the Southern division, the land under culture 
there being generally lower, and the climate hotter than in the 
northern section. In the tract to the west of Veerajpettah, sweep- 
ing round from Periambady, the loss has been very heav} 7 , ranging 
from five to sixty per cent. Onthe other hand, the estates on and near 
the Periambady Ghat road have escaped in a remarkable manner, 
but a very few bored trees having been found prior to the date of 
my visit in December. All f these lie on the immediate western 
flank of the great m ntain chain, where they receive the monsoon 
with unbroken force, and are swept with strong chill winds through- 
out the year. To these peculiarities they doubtless owe their safety, 
the climate, as in the case of the estate similarly located in Munze- 
rabad, being such as to destroy or keep away the beetles. In 
estates to the east of Veerajpettah, in the bamboo district, the epi- 
demic has not generally been very severe, although one, the oldest 
in the district, has been all but completely denuded of its trees. 
Taking the whole district of South Coorg — good and bad together — 
the mean loss amounts to fourteen per cent. In the northern half, 
the insect has been most destructive on estates lying east of Mercara, 
where, as already stated, the rainfall is much less, and the air hotter 
and drier than towards the west. Taking the whole of this division, 
the loss ranges from one to ninety per cent., the mean being about 
seven per cent.,t or one-half that in South Coorg. We have thus on 
European property, throughout the whole province, a mean loss of no 
less than 10*1 per cent., and besides this, about fifteen per cent, of trees 
have been more or less injured, of which about three per cent, may yet 
be expected to perish. In some native gardens onthe bare exposed 

* Sncli as fires and lanterns, &c, smeared with adhesive substances to catch, the 
beetles at night, although they are diurnal in their habits ! 

t The reason for the mean being so low in North as compared with South Coorg, 
while the extremes are so wiilc apart is, that estates are touch more numerous in the 
former, and the average was ou most of these much lower thau on those In South Coorg. 


slopes about Mercara, the plants have been almost entirely annihi- 
lated, and the general loss on native property in that quarter ranges 
from fifteen to fifty per cent. In the portion of North Ooorg, between 
Mercara and the Cauvery, it has been much less, most of the gardens 
there being under natural shade. In South Coorg too, most of the 
native gardens are under shade, and where this has been perfect, the 
loss has not exceeded five per cent. In many instances, however, the 
forest trees had from various causes partially died out, and in all 
such the loss has been very heavy, the extermination being generally 
complete where there was no protection.* Part of the native pro- 
perty in Coorg being thus entirely or partially in open ground and 
part in shade, it would, for statistical purposes, be useless to give 
the mean loss in the whole collectively. 

Wynaad: — For the last fifteen or twenty years the borer has 
been known in Wynaad under the name of the worm, and the beetle as 
the coffee fly. So long ago as 1853, one estate in the bamboo district 
was rendered utterly worthless by the ravages of the insect, but gen- 
erally speaking, although widely diffused, it was not very destructive, 
or if it did prove so, as in the above instance, it confined itself to one 
estate or corner of a district, and having done its work, the invasion 
subsided. Although the Wynaad planter has thus had a longer ac- 
quaintance with the borer than those in any other quarter, still its 
.presence does not, until about four years ago, when its devastations 
began to be very extensive, appear to have excited the slightest alarm. 
Trees bored down to the roots were removed, while the stems of those 
less injured were cut down to the sound wood, and as the losses on a 
large estate for years in succession rarely exceeded a few score trees 
per annum, no one suspected that this tiny eneury had the power of 
multiplying to such an extent as to become a scourge and a terror- 
It was, indeed, considered as one of those inevitable minor evils from 
insect voracity, which every cultivator of the soil has to endure 
patiently, and accordingly no special remedy was ever thought of 
beyond the simple expedient just mentioned. In 1865, however, the 
increase in the numberof bored trees began to attractgeneralattention, 
and planters at their gatherings were wont to compare notes on the 
sudden multiplication of the worm. In 1866, rumours floated about 
that various properties in dry easterly localities were being decimated 
by the pest, and as it was undoubtedly on the increase all over the 

* Trees originally cultivated in shade suffer much more from borer when deprived 
of that protection, than those cultivated throughout in open ground. 


district, there sprang up a general feeling of alarm. In 1867, the 
larva appears to have first been called the " Borer," and so general and 
extensive was the destruction going on, that the name travelled far 
beyond the range of the district, and every planter felt called on to 
brace up his energies, and seek to overcome an enemy that threat- 
ened to annihilate his crops. To many the question arose, " Can we 
continue to cultivate coffee in Wynaad, or are evil days come upon 
us, such as befel the nutmeg planters in Singapore f The dismay 
that such a state of matters created can be better imagined than 
described. Here was a number of men, many with large pecuniary 
interests at stake, threatened with complete ruin, after enduring 
for years the pains of exile, a toilsome lot and many hardships, that 
they might be able to go back to their native land with a compe- 
tency. To bear up under such adverse circumstances, and to carry on 
the struggle in silence, must have required no little moral courage, 
and we give the planters of Wynaad credit for exhibiting that quality 
in a high degree, as they hardly uttered a word of complaint during 
a cycle of disastrous years. The district is divided into 

South, and 
South-East Wynaad. 
In North-West Wynaad, the destruction by the borer seems to 
have been most extensive around Manantoddy, and in bamboo land 
towards the frontier of Coorg. Some properties lying near the 
Mysore road have been completelj 7 denuded, nothing remaining but 
here and there a dry skeleton stump ; and even these have in some 
instances disappeared, and the ground become covered with scrub 
jungle. Some old estates to the west have also suffered heavily, the 
Joss in several instances being quite fifty per cent. Towards Periah, 
and on estates to the north of Manantoddy, the damage varies very 
much, ranging from less than one to fully fifteen per cent., and the total 
mean loss in North-West Wynaad would be from eight to ten per 
cent. A curious example of the effect of shade as a preventive of borer 
exists in the Club compound at Manantoddy. The club-house stands 
on the apex of a conical hill, which a few years ago was covered 
with thriving coffee trees, but at the present day all these have 
disappeared, except a few rows on each side of the road, well shaded 
by fine Jack trees, and the plants thus remaining are not only 
alive, but green and flourishing. A better proof of the efficacy of 
tuch protection could hardly be desired, and it seems almost as if 


the incident bad taken place in such a conspicuous place, for the 
express purpose of teaching all comers a lesson. The native gardens 
in North-West Wynaad are partly in the shade, and partly in the 
open, and, as a rule, the destruction in them has been very heavy, 
certainlyon an average fifteen per cent. In South Wynaad the losses 
have been heaviest out towards the bamboo district, but all parts 
have suffered more or less. The average per-centage of loss, however, 
is somewhat Jess than in North-West Wynaad, and does not probably 
exceed five per cent. In South-East Wynaad the per-centage of loss 
is found to increase the farther the estate lies to the east, and in some 
quarters the destruction has been complete, or will certainly be so at 
no distant date. On the whole, estates in this quarter have suffered 
quite as much, if not more, than those located in the northern part of 
the district, and I reckon the general loss about ten per cent. Taking 
the whole district of Wynaad, the mean loss would be about eight or 
nine per cent., or slightly less thau in Coorg. 

The application of means to destro}' the borer, or prevent its 
attacks is, owing to some peculiarities in its habits and economy, 
rendered very difficult. In the case of the sugar-cane borer already 
referred to, the planter was able to collect and destroy the insect in 
the chrysalis stage, as it was then attached to the leaves of the plant, 
but the coffee borer lives both as larva and pupa in the interior of 
the stem, and can only be reached b}' cutting down the tree. To 
this measure there would be no great objection, provided the enemy 
appeared in limited numbers, but unfortunately it is generally so 
numerous, that to cut every infested stem would be tantamount to the 
destruction of more than half the trees on an estate. Again, in the 
case of insects of nocturnal habits, the numbers may be rapidly 
diminished by displaying lights, to which they readily fly, and 
having some simple contrivance to secure them when under the 
influence of this glamour. But the borer beetle loving the day and 
bright sunshine is proof against any such lure, and even saccharine 
sweets, which few insects can resist, and which are readily made the 
means of their destruction, have for it not the slightest attraction. 
The fact, too, of the beetle appearing in nearly every month of the 
year, coupled with its small size and active movements, render any 


attempt to secure it by day amongst the trees rather difficult. On 
the slightest alarm it drops on the ground, and it requires sharp eyes 
and nimble fingers to pick it out from amongst the weeds or loose 
earth. In the further consideration of this subject, I shall first notice 
remedial, and thereafter preventive measures. 

Remedial measures : — The number of these which has been pro- 
posed is very great, but I shall only notice such as are of a really 
practical nature, and of which the majority have been tested by 
experience. The female beetles, it will be remembered, deposit their 
e<yo-s, in the cracks of the bark, and are most abundant just after the 
rains, and about the middle of the hot season. At this period of its 
existence, therefore, the enemy is to a certain extent in the power of 
the planter, as he may in various ways attack the ova. One very 
common and successful expedient has been to remove all the outer 
cracked layers of the bark from the stem, and in doing so, the eggs 
are either crushed or rubbed off. This operation may be performed 
either with a piece of curved iron with a blunt edge, or, better still, 
with a bit of rough coir rope passed once round the stem, and firmly 
pulled first in one direction and then in another by a coolie holding 
an end in each hand. There is some risk attending the use of the 
iron scraper, as, if not closely watched, the coolie will often remove 
the entire bark. On the whole, therefore, the coir rope is perhaps the 
better implement of the two, although with it it takes a little more 
time and exertion to get through the work. Another way of getting 
rid of the ova is by the application of some fluid that will destroy 
their vitality. A very effectual wash for this purpose may be made, 
by mixing slaked lime, that has for some time been exposed to the 
atmosphere, and sal ammoniac in hot water. The latter is procurable 
in every bazaar at a very moderate cost, and is called in Tamil 
Navacharuin, and in Hindustani Nowshader. The proportions are 
two parts of old lime, one of sal ammoniac, and eight of boiling water. 
Mix and stir well until nearly cold, and then add twelve parts of cold 
water, and apply grounds and all freely to the stems, daubing into the 
cracks with brushes, which may be made from the leaf stalks of the 
cocoanut tree. A weak solution of carbolic acid will also have the 
desired effect, and as it is made from, and has the smell of coal tar 
it has the advantage of being most offensive to the beetles. It may 
be used in the proportion of one part of acid to thirty of water, and 
should also be well rubbed in so as to penetrate every crevice. The 
cost in England of the brown commercial carbolic acid is about two 


and a half rupees per gallon. Coal tar diluted with fish-oil may also 
be used, and this mixture not only destroj's any ova that may have 
been lodged, but forms a mechanical covering highl}' offensive to the 
beetles. I think it highly probable too, that a moderately strong 
solution of common brown salt would prove destructive to the eggs. 
When the larvse have once entered the stem, no external application 
will of course be of the slightest value, but if the injured trees are 
not too numerous, they should be cut and burned immediately, so as 
to destroy the colony in the interior. The coolies very soon 
learn to distinguish a bored tree by its peculiar appearance, and 
should be instructed to test the stem by giving it a sudden wrench, 
when, if infested with borer, it is sure to snap across at the point 
where most injury has been done. The next point to ascertain is, 
whether the insect has extended its depredations to the roots, and 
if so, it should be dug up. If safe, the root may be left, the stem 
being cut across below the fracture with a saw, so as to leave 
a clean wound. Such a stump generally throws up a number of 
suckers, which should all be allowed to grow for some months, and 
then the strongest one may be selected and kept, and the others cut 
away. If all the suckers, save one, are cut down from the first it 
grows too rapidly, and being tender, rarely survives the hot season. 
This weeding out of trees containing the insect is of all remedies 
perhaps the most effectual for borer, but of course it can only be 
put in practice when the bored trees are not very numerous. When 
more than thirty percent, areattacked, it is better perhaps to let the 
trees remain, as matters can hardl\ r be worse, and there is a chance 
of many of them recovering. At the same time, no pains should be 
spared to render the trees as vigorous as possible, as they will thus 
be enabled in many cases to recover from the effects of the injury 
they may have sustained. 

Preventive measures : — The value of shade in protecting coffee 
from the ravages of the borer has already been so fully discussed, 
that it will be unnecessary to say much more on the subject here. 
It is only on young estates, generally speaking, that it can be made 
use of, as the trees are difficult to rear on land long under culture, 
and take so long to grow, that in all probability the coffee will be 
destroyed before they are of any service. On old estates in open 
ground, then the planter must trust more to other resources, and 
nothing will be of frreater service than regular manuring", diviner 
and weeding, and careful pruning and draining. In short, high 


culture. At the same time the stems may be protected in various 
ways, so as to render it impossible for the beetle to find any place 
suitable for the hatching of its eggs. Observing that in young trees 
the ova are generally deposited not far from the base of the stem, 
some planters have drawn up the earth around this, in hopes that 
it would keep the enemy at bay, but this expedient is not very 
successful, as when a female alights on a tree, she will attack the 
upper portion of the stem on finding the lower inaccessible. A mix- 
ture of cow-dung and clay, such as that used by natives for smear- 
ing the floors and walls of their houses, may however be applied 
with advantage. It should cover every portion of the stem, and if 
carefully put on, will last through the monsoon, except in very ex- 
posed places. A very good compost for coating the stems may be 
made as follows : — 

One basket of fresh cow-dung. 

Half a basket of quick lime. 

A small quantity of wood ashes. 
Mix with as much soap-suds (country soap) and water as will 
make it of the consistence of a thick paint, and apply with the 
cocoanut brushes. Lime wash is also a very good application, but 
apt to scale off when the plant is shaken by the wind, and to be 
washed off by rain. Covering the stem with moss will also afford 
efficient protection. It should be laid on about two inches thick 
and secured with bands of fibre, and if applied about the beginning 
of the monsoon, will live and beccme firmly banded in its new posi- 
tion. Sometimes, when debarred from the stem, the beetle will lay 
its e^crs on a stout branch, but this is not common, and does not do 
a great deal of harm. As regards estates in shade, care must be 
taken to supply the place of trees that may perish, as whenever a 
sunny opening occurs, the enemy takes advantage of the breach, and 
at once becomes master of the position. Manuring, &c, must also 
be just as carefullly attended to as in estates in open ground. 


In every tract of forest or land in a state of nature, a due 
balance is maintained amongst the various plants and animals that 
live there, so long as there is not any disturbing cause, such as 
clearance or culture. "Whenever such takes place, the law that 


secured this balance by a war of species is upset, and but too often 
noxious kinds, being no longer held in check multiply in an extraordi- 
nary manner. When the land is cultivated, a thousand noxious weeds 
contend with the crops for possession of the soil, and hordes of 
creatures that prey on them appear on the scene. It is interesting 
to note, however, that even when man thus sets himself up as master 
of the position, nature still tries by various agencies to keep 
destructive creatures within due bounds, and indeed but for such 
aid, he would at times be driven vanquished from the field. Thus 
the increase of insects destructive to coffee, has been followed by an 
increase in insect-eating birds and reptiles, and the good that these 
effect can hardly be over-estimated ; for a pair of birds, with a nest 
full of hungry crops, will probably destroy more insects in a day, 
than twice as many coolies sent to catch and kill. It is not my in- 
tention to notice all the animals that directly or indirectly are friend- 
ly to, or prey on, the planners' trees and crops, but only such as are 
most remarkable from the amount of good or ill that they do. 



Mungoos : — This creature (Herpestes griseus) holds rather a 
•dubious position, inasmuch that although a stern foe to the coffee 
rat, it also destroys some of the planters' best friends, such as lizards. 
Its presence, however, is generally eneoui'aged on estates, with the 
view of destroying snakes. 


The birds that prove friendly to the planter, by destroying in- 
sects, &c, are so numerous, that only some of the more common ones 
can be mentioned. As already stated, some species of birds, espe- 
cially the insectivorous, have become more numerous as clearings 
have been extended, simply from the circumstances that food sup- 
plies have become more abundant, and because they prefer the coffee 
estate, with its convenient bushes and rows of roosting trees, to the. 
dense jungle. 

Owl. — Of these, two species, belonging to the genus Syrnium, 
inhabit the patches of forest near coffee estates, and sally forth at 
night to prey on rats, mice, &c. The one is the " Brown wood owl," 
and the other the "Mottled wood owl," of which the former seems 
the more common. They are great friends to the planter, inasmuch 
as they kill the " coffee rat," but are objects of horror to the coolies, 
who have various superstitious ideas regarding them. 

The Jay, or Indian Roller : — Is not unfrequently seen in the 
bamboo district, and is busy all day long picking up grasshoppers 
and beetles. He perches on some fire-scathed stump or tree, and 
on seeing an insect on the ground or a bush, swoops down on it 
with unerring aim. 

Woodpeckers : — Various species of these inhabit the jungles sur- 
rounding coffee estates, where they live mostly on the larvae 
and pupaa of insects found beneath the bark and in the wood of 
trees. They are very shy birds, but I have found traces of their 
presence in remote corners of coffee estates, when they had come to 
feed on the larvse and probably the beetle of the borer. 

Grow Pheasant,or common Concal : — This bird (the Centropus 
rufipennis) is very common, particularly on the eastern margin 
of the coffee zone. It feeds on the ground and on bushes, and lives 
on insects and small reptiles. Its ally, the Cuckoo, is also insectivo- 
rous, but not common enough to require special notice. 

Sun Birch, &c. :— Several of these frequent the forests in Wy- 
naad and Coorg, but they are not common. The one seen most 
frequently is the Purple Honey Sucker (Arachnechthralotenia). All 
of them eat small insects found in the flowers, or on the leaves of 
bushes and trees. One or two Nuthatches also frequent the coffee 
districts, but they seem rarely to leave the jungle. 

The Hoopoo :— This bird (the Upupa ceylonensis) is common 
on clearings, and walks about under the coffee bushes, picking up 
beetles and various large and small insects. 

Shrikes :— This family, of which several species frequent coffee 
clearings are all insect-eating. The (Dircrurus macrocercus) King- 
crow is the one most commonly seen, and is constantly engaged 
either on the wing, pursuing moths, butterflies, and dragon-flies, or 
on the ground, hunting for beetles and grasshoppers. The Black 
Dronge (Edolius malabaricus) is also a famous hunter, and may often 
be seen on bamboo and other low jungles near coffee clearings. 


Bird of Paradise: — This beautiful creature (Tchitrea paradisi) 
is often seen in sparse jungle, gliding about from tree to tree, with 
its long white tail sailing behind. It catches insects on the wing. 
Several Fly Catchers also exist in the coffee districts, and live mostly 
on very small insects which they catch on the wing. 

Thrushes : — Several of these voracious insect-feeders are found 
in Wynaad, Coorg, and Mysore. One, the (Myiophonus Horsfieldii), 
Whistling Thrush, is well known on account of its peculiar notes, 
which seem to come from a man trying to whistle some tune of which 
he has an imperfect recollection. The Blue Rock-Thrush, Ground- 
Thrush, and Black-capped Blackbird are also not uncommon, and 
particularly industrious in picking up caterpillars, beetles, and all 
kinds of insects. 

Mynas : — These birds have increased very much of late in 
coffee estates, appearing in large flocks, and proving of immense be- 
nefit to the planter from the number of insects of all kinds which 
they devour. The kinds seen belong chiefly to the genera Acri- 
dothens, and Temenuchus. The Hill Myna (Eulabes religiosa) with 
its yellow wattles is very common. It eats the seeds of various 
noxious weeds, and I am inclined to think does not disdain an 
insect when a tit-bit comes in its way. 

Sparrows: — The common impudent house-sparrow (Passer 
Indicus) has become numerous of late years in Coffee estates, but 
probably migrates to the east during the rains, as it loves a dry 
coat and quarters. It lives on seeds and insects, and has an 
insatiable appetite. 

Larks : — At least one Bush Lark (Mirafra) and one Tree Lark 
live in the coffee districts, and prove very destructive to insects. 

Peacocks : — This beautiful bird (Pavo cristatus) is very com- 
mon in some of the planting districts, more especially in South-East 
Wynaad and Mysore. It is, however, sadly persecuted, the jungle 
tribes catching it with snares, and the sportsman killing it with his 
gun. It is fond of grubs and beetles, and even devours small snakes 
and other reptiles. 

Jungle Fowl and Spur Fowl: — The Jungle Fowl (Gallus Sonne- 
ratii) and Spur Fowl (Qulloperdix spadiceus), more especially the 
former, are extremely common in the coffee districts, and may often 
be seen in the early mornings running on the paths and between 
the rows of trees on estates. They are both very fond of insects, 


and instead of being shot down and frightened, should be encouraged 
as staunch friends to the planter. Quails (Turnix) appear to be on 
the increase, frequenting little spots of jungle and grassy patches on 
coffee estates. 


Lizards :■ — In the list of friends, the lizards are rather conspi- 
cuous, on account of their numbers and voracity. They have, like 
some of the birds, undoubtedly increased as the jungles were clear- 
ed away, and destroy immense numbers of insects. Beautiful green 
and striped lizards are very common on coffee estates, and several 
species of Calotes may be seen hanging on to the branches and look- 
ing out for beetles, which their powerful jaws enable them to crush 
with ease. 

Snakes : — Of these the Rat Snake (Coryphodon) is a great friend 
to the planter, and should never be molested or destroyed. He is a 
most indefatigable enemy of the coffee rat (Golunda Ellioti) which 
has in some seasons proved very destructive, appearing in thousands, 
and gnawing off all the tender wood from the trees. The other 
snakes seen on coffee estates hold a very dubious position as regards 
their services, being but too ready to prey on the friendly lizards 
and toads. A very interesting experiment in the way of checks is 
being conducted by Mr. Thomas, Collector, Mangalore, who has sent 
snakes and mongooses to the maritime islands in his collectorate, to 
keep down the rats, which are so numerous that the inhabitants are 
obliged to organise monthly hunting parties for their destruction. 

Toads : — The members of the despised, dreaded, and persecuted 
family of Batrachians (Bufo) are staunch allies of the planter, as 
they are very fond of insects, and are very expert in catching them. 


Amongst insects the coffee has many foes, and so far as I know, 
hardly a friend. When the tree contains borer, the large pugna- 
cious red ant sometimes enters it from below, removing the debris of 
the wood from the tunnels, and killing and eating not only the larva, 
but even the beetles. Although the tree is thus freed its enemy of 
the borer, the clearing of the tunnels is of dubious benefit, as it 
permits the air and rain to enter more freely, and hastens the decay 
of the stem. This species sometimes build their nests amongst the 
offee, but are an intolerable nuisance, being most irascible and 
biting with the utmost fury the naked bodies of the coolies. Some 


jungle tribes and coolies, however, eat them, seizing them in hand- 
fuls and chewing them on the spot! 

There are several species of net- weaving spiders found on coffee 
estates, belonging to the genus Epeira, which would be quite capable 
of killing, and no doubt do destroy borer beetles or moths when 
they get entangled in their snares. A large and ferocious My 7 gale is 
also not uncommon, making his den, a burrow six or eight inches 
deep, in the scarps of the roads. Outside there is a little funnel-shaped 
expansion of silken network, with a hole large enough to admit the 
finger. On digging away the earth, the burrow is found lined 
throughout its entire length with this beautiful web, which is of 
considerable strength, and very close in texture. At the extreme 
end the hole enlarges into a small chamber, in which the creature hides 
itself during the day. If disturbed it gets irate and shews fight, 
and so hideous is its appearance, that 1 have never had the courage 
to touch one with the naked hand. It is nocturnal in its habits, and 
preys on caterpillars, moths, and beetles. 


The enemies of the coffee are very numerous, and it will only 
be possible to notice some of the more notable amongst them. 


Monkeys : — Several species are found in the coffee zone. The 
Black Neilgherry Langur (Presbytes jubatus) sometimes appears on 
the borders of estates near the crest of the ghats, but is shy and 
does little damage. The Inuus Silenus, dark in eolour, and bearded 
like the Ceylon Wandaroo, is rather widely distributed, but prefers 
tall jungle to a coffee estate. The large grey monkey (Macacus) is 
most numerous, and is a great pest on shaded estates in JUy^sore. 
It lives in the large trees, and is very wary, retreating on the slight- 
est disturbance to the topmost branches and concealing itself amongst 
the foliage. It eats an immense quantity of coffee, as the fruit gets 
ripe, does not despise the young leaves when hungry, and breaks 
and injures the branches by climbing and jumping about upon them. 
Large numbers of them are shot, but they appear to multiply very 


fast. They merely eat the pulp of the fruit, spitting out the seeds. 
Coolies are fond of their flesh, which is said to be any thing but dis- 

Jackal :••— This animal (Canis aureus) would appear to be omni- 
verous. On the plains, near villages, it preys on sick goats or sheep, 
and does not despise the vilest carion, and in the coffee districts it 
greedily devours the ripe coffee berries. The beans pass through, 
its intestines uninjured, and indeed they are said to be rather im- 
proved by the process, acquiring a particular gout, highly relished 
by connoisseurs ! There seems to be no method of getting rid of them, 
except by poison distributed in the body of any dead animal. 

Rats: — The Coffee Rat (Golunda Ellioti) is at times a terrible 
pest, and is rather curious in its habits, appearing in myriads one 
season and then disappearing for years. This no doubt arises, as 
the natives suppose, from its being migratory, so that when the food 
supplies get scarce in one quarter, it moves awajr to another district. 
Its ordinary food is the seed of the bamboo and various jungle plants, 
and it probably only attacks the coffee, when these are not procu- 
rable. The natives of Ceylon say that it usually lives on the Nilloo, 
a Strobilanthus, and that this blossoms once in seven years, and 
then dies ; an occuiTence which, by depriving the rats of their ordi- 
nary food, sends them forth to spoil the coffee estates. Curious to 
say, some of the natives of Coorg have a somewhat similar story. 
Their belief is, that the bamboo seeds generally only once in sixty 
3'ears, and that the abundance of food in that season causes the rats 
to multiply to an enormous extent. Thereafter, when the whole of 
the bamboo rice has been eaten up, the}' are obliged to attack the 
coffee or any other plant on which they can feed. The bamboo rat, 
when plundering a coffee estate, lives during the day amongst the 
roots of the nearest bit of jungle, and sallies forth at night from 
this retreat. It does not appear to touch the berries, but eats ten- 
der buds and succulent shoots, and uhews the bark of } T oung wood. 
To get these it climbs the tree, and walking out on the branches, 
divides the twigs with its sharp incisors, as clean as if they had been 
cut with a pruning knife. It then descends, and either feeds on 
the spot, or drags away the spoil to its hiding place. When the 
plants are very young, it sometimes gnaws them off a few inches 
above the ground. Various means have been tried for getting rid 
of rats, but they are in general so numerous, that the few hundreds 


killed by poison or trap are as nothing compared with the hosts 
that remain to carry on the work of destruction. Some years ago 
field-mice became very numerous and destructive in the New Forest 
in England, and after every ordinary device had been tried in vain, 
were caught by means of pits dug in the ground, very mucn broader 
at the bottom than the top, so that when the creatures in their 
peregrinations fell in, they found it impossible to get out again.* Pos- 
sibly this plan would prove effectual in the case of the coffee rats, as 
it is nearly impossible to get them to touch poison, and they have 
an instinctive dread of, and avoid all common traps. 

Squirrels : — The Broivn Squirrel and the common Grey eat 
the coffee berries, but the damage they do is very inconsiderable. 

Buffaloes and Bullocks : — These rarely touch the leaves of the 
coffee, but by brushing against the branches they frequently shake 
down the fruit. Buffaloes, too, have a nasty habit of rubbing against, 
or even rolling over on the trees, by which the branches and some- 
times the stems are broken and smashed. The amount of injury 
done in this way is in some districts very great, as the owners of 
the cattle generally drive them out into the jangle, and allow them 
to range wherever they please. Bullocks also break branches by 
making rubbing posts of the trees, but are most destructive where 
the charcoal tree or jack is being raised for shade. They are ex- 
tremely fond of the leaves of these, and in the hot season, when 
grass is scarce, whole herds rush down on estates, and in a few hours 
utterly destroy hundreds of saplings, by eating off the tender tops 
and side branches. In the case of cattle trespass, the planter is very 
rarely able to obtain redress, as the animals are nearly as wild as 
the deer of the forest, and most difficult to catch or identify. When 
pursued, they only do more damage by running over the trees, and 
gaining the boundary of the forest disappear and are lost amid its 
recesses. Nothing but a dense rose, or other prickly hedge, will 
keep out these marauders, and if it has one weak point, they are 
pretty sure to discover and take advantage of it to gain admission m 
In several districts, such as Coorg, the nuisance of cattle trespass has 
become so great as to be almost intolerable, and to put a stop to it, 
some modification of the present law seems desirable. In every 
case in which the cattle are caught or identified, the owner should 
be summarily punished with a fine heavy enough to make him dread 

* London's Encyclopaedia of Gardening, p. 1154. 


its repetition, while every facility should be given for the recovery, 
by a civil action, of damages according to the injury done. 


As stated already, a great man}' insects injure the coffee tree, 
but it would be out of place to notice any here, except those which 
are of some importance. The destructive species belong to the orders 
Coleoptera,Orthoptera, Lepidoptera, and Homoptera, and one remark- 
able feature with regard to them is their wide distribution in a north 
and south direction, nearly all of them being found in every part of 
the coffee zone. This may be accounted for by the uniformity in 
physical conformation, flora and climate, that characterizes the track, 
and by the absence of any natural barrier to migration, such as a 
transverse loft}' mountain range, or wide gap in the ghat chain. To 
the west, these insects can hardly be said to extend beyond the crest 
of the ghats, the lofty peaks that rise here and there, and the abrupt 
descent and rapid ehange of flora and climate on the western face 
having proved insuperable obstacles to their proceeding in that 
direction. To the east, their range is greatly more extensive, the 
descent here to the table-land of M/vsore being very gradual and 
unobstructed. In several instances I have found the Xylotrechus, 
thirty miles bej'ond the eastern margin of the coffee zone, and so far 
as climate and elevation go, there is nothing to prevent its living in 
any part of Mysore. Judging from its habits, there is strong reason 
for believing that it was originally a tenant of the dry jungles, that 
prevail towards and beyond the eastern frontier of the coffee districts. 


The chief of these, the notorious white borer, Xylotrechus qua- 
drupes, has been already noticed, and no other member of the family 
requires to be described. A Brenthus was sent to me as a borer 
from Wynaad, but I have never noticed its depredations, or secured 
the insect myself on a coffee plant. Several large white grubs, the 
larvae of beetles, attack the roots of the coffee tree, gnawing out great 
gaps in them, or even cutting them through entirely. They live 
under ground, and are usually found near rotten stumps or logs, in 
which they are bred. I have never been able to get one to pass into 
the imago state, so as to identify it, but believe that there are two 
or three species of the white grub, and that they belong to the 
Lucanidae or Melolanthidse. 



In most decayed logs there are swarms of cockroaches, but as 
they do not do any harm to the coffee, they do not require any special 
notice here. It is otherwise with another member of the order, a 
small but voracious locust. 

Locusta Coffe.e— (See PI. vi.) 

Of small size ; tegmina and wings brownish and derlexed ; an- 
tennae short and filiform ; eyes large and brilliant ; abdomen reddish ; 
femora with brown transverse bars on a yellowish ground ; tarsi with 
three joints, of which the basal one is long and marked with two de- 
pressions on the underside like additional joints. This insect is 
most abundant in dry seasons, and seems to select a sunny sheltered 
spot, where the coffee is luxuriant and juicy, as the scene of its 
depredations. It may be found in large numbers on the leaves 
which it destroys, in the way shewn in PI. vi., and when these 
foil, it often gnaws off the bark from the tender young wood. The 
want of the leaves is sure to cause the loss of crop for one season, and 
the injury done to the branches generally kills thera, and causes the 
primaries to put forth a number of irregular shoots. Hitherto the 
insect has not fortunately been very numerous, but I have seen 
several acres of trees completely stript of their foliage by it, and as 
it is one of a family that is apt suddenly to appear in overwhelm- 
ing numbers, the planter, when it invades his property, should care- 
fully use every means in his power for its destruction. The most 
effectual way for accomplishing this is the collecting of the perfect 
insect on the trees. In France, the Government have a fixed scale 
of prices for the eggs and perfect insects, half a franc being paid for 
a kilogramme of the former, and a quarter of a franc for the same 
quantity of the latter — { Westwood on Insects, voL 1 , p. 459 .) 


Several of this order attack the coffee, and one of the Hepialidse 
destroys great numbers of the invaluable charcoal tree. The 
larva is of very large size, and its presence in a tree is indicated by 
a large ball of wood-powder on the exterior, fastened together by 
delicate silken threads. On removing this, the mouth of the hole 
will be seen, and on splitting up the stem, it will be found that one 
branch of the tunnel generally runs in an upward, and another in a 


downward direction. The grub is from three to four inches long 
thick, fleshy, and of a pale red colour. It has six pectoral, eight 
ventral, and two anal feet ; and is a very powerful creature, 
struggling violently in the hand and attacking vigorously, with its 
powerful jaws, the cork of a bottle in which it may be confined. 
The chrysalis is smaller, of a red colour, and rests about three 
months. Its abdominal segments are furnished with transverse 
rows of minute reflexed spines, and some weeks before the moth 
emerges, moved by some wonderful instinct, it pushes itself up by 
means of these, and clears away the blockading mass of wood- 
powder from the external opening, so that there may be nothing to 
prevent the escape of the moth. The moth measures about 
three and a half inches across the wings, which are of a greyish 
brown colour, the upper ones being clouded with a decided 
brown. The antennas of the female (I have not seen the male), 
are very short and filiform. The wings are deflexed in repose, 
and furnished with a complicated series of strong nerves. 
Abdomen elongated, and the female, when touched, discharges with 
some force a great number of white round eggs, which shortly turn 
black. The holes made by this formidable creature render the soft- 
wooded stem of the charcoal tree very weak, or cause it to rot from 
water entering during the monsoon. The grub may be killed by 
passing a long piece of copper wire down the tunnel, and also by 
closing the opening with a peg of soft wood. 

Zeuzera Coffeophaga. 

This is the well known " Red Borer" of the coffee zone. 

Moth. — (Fig. 4, PI. v.) — Has a considerable resemblance to the 
wood Leopard-moth of Europe. It is not often seen, although the 
larva is common enough, and this may arise from its rather conspicu- 
ous colours and slow flight, which would enable its enemies to discover 
and destroy it readily. It measures about one and three-quarters of 
an inch across the wings, which are pure white, spotted with small dots 
of a blue-black. The thorax is marked with a large dark spot, and the 
abdomen with rings of the same colour, and altogether the moth 
is one of the prettiest in India. The antennae of the male are 
bipectinated to about their middle (see Fig. 4, PI. v), and are 
beautiful objects under a low power of the microscope. 

Larva. — (Fig. 1, PI. v.) — The larva is from one and a half to two 
inches long, and as thick as a quill. It is clothed with a very few 

< J 

scattered hairs, and is called the Red Borer, from the red colour of its 
back. The head is yellow, and the thoracie and anal plates black. Its 
presence in a stem is indicated by little pellets of wood-dust at the 
foot of the coffee tree, and on looking up the stem, the hole will be 
found from eight to eighteen inches from the ground. It attacks 
trees both young and old, but seems to be most fond of the former 
It usually scoops its tunnel right in the centre of the stem, with 
here and there some lateral offsets, as will be seen in Fig. 3 a, a 
PI. v. Sometimes it sweeps round in cork-screw fashion near the 
entrance to the tunnel, and if the stem is not of considerable dia- 
meter, this freak renders it so weak, that the slightest force is suffi- 
cient to snap it across. The tunnel has usually an upward direction, 
but not unfrequently there is also a descending branch. When 
about to enter into the chrysalis state, it retreats to a safe part of the 
tunnel, and having prepared a delicate silken cocoon, assumes the 
appearance shewn in Fig. 2, PL v. While in this state, it is quite 
capable of making certain movements, but remains quiescent, unless 
disturbed, for from two and a half to three months. The larva ap- 
pears to work chiefly during the night, and is probably hatched in 
the ground at the foot of the tree. When the stem is much damag- 
ed) the foliage gets sickly and drooping, and sometimes the tree 
dies. If not much injured, the external opening should be closed 
with a wooden peg, which causes the death of the borer, and the tree 
will then in all probability recover. If the damage is considerable, 
the bored portion should be removed with a saw, and the young 
shoots treated as recommended, when speaking of trees injured by 
the white borer. 

Agrotts Segetcjm. 

For some years past a dark-coloured grub has been known in 
Coorg as the "Singer," a name very applicable, as it destroys the 
young coffee tree by gnawing off a circle of the bark just above 
ground. It does not appear annually, but in certain seasons comes 
forth in vast numbers, clearing away every plant over an area of 
fifty or sixty acres. I have never succeeded in getting the larva to 
pass through the chrysalis stage, but from the appearance and habits 
of the grub, have not the slightest doubt that it is the larva of the 
Agrotis Segetum. In Europe the insect is well known, and is a 
great enemy to cultivated plants, in some seasons doing immense 
damage to grain, turnips, beet-root, &c. 


Moth. — (See Fig. 6, PI. v., from Normandy's Agricultural 
Chemst.) The moth is somewhat variable as to size and colour, but 
generally measures about one and three-quarters of an inch across 
the wings, which are of a clouded brown colour. The lower wings 
are of a greyish or bluish white colour. It is very rarely seen. 

Larva* — The grub is usually quite an inch long, and about 
the thickness of a quill. It is of a dingy brown colour, with black 
head and lateral dots. It is most common in the dry months, im- 
mediately after the monsoon. It only attacks young trees, and is, 
therefore} very destructive to plants in the nursery and when first 
put out. The ring of bark, gnawed off by its formidable mandibles, 
is near the surface of the ground, and hence, as the insect is not 
visible during the day, planters at first thought their trees were wind- 
rung, that is, deprived of their bark by the rubbing of the stem 
against the ground when swayed by the wind. The grub buries 
itself in the earth at the foot of the tree during the day, and comes 
forth at night to feed ; and, considering its size, the damage it does 
is truly wonderful, as a stem, from which a complete ring of bark has 
been removed, is sure to die. Fortunately, its ravages seem to be 
confined chiefly to the dry eastern portions of the coffee zone. It 
sometimes invades gardens, and attacks most of the European vege- 
tables cultivated there. When its presence is discovered on an estate, 
the coolies should be taught to collect the grubs, and, to ensure 
diligence, each one should be made to display what he may have 
gathered during the day in the evening. Quick-lime applied to the 
ground kills them, and at the same time benefits the soil. 


This order contains some useful insects, and a number which 
are most destructive to cultivated plants. One of the best known 
is the large Cicada, or Knife-grinder, which makes the woods resound 
with its harsh noise. Of those that are especially useful, I may men- 
tion the Coccus Polonicus, or Scarlet Grain of Poland used as a dye ; 
the famous Coccus Cacti? the cochineal insect ; the Coccus lacca of this 
country that produces lac ; and the Coccus Ceriferus, or wax insect 
of the East Indies, which is emplo} T ed in the production of white- 
wax. Of the noxious species, there is an immense number, a great 
many garden and forest trees being liable to their attacks, and their 
small size and powers of propagation render their extermination im- 

• See Fig. 5, PI. v. from a specimen in spirit. 

possible. One much dreaded in England is the Hop-Fly, which in 
some seasons does such injury to the hop crops, as to occasion a 
decrease of £200,000 in the usual annual amount of duty paid to 
Government. The vine, pine-apple, and orange are also subject to 
the invasions of minute homopterous insects, called Scale, that do the 
plants a great deal of injury; and in the West Indies, a tiny creature, 
Delphax Saccharivora, ravages sugar plantations, often killing the 
canes. None, perhaps, have occasioned more loss than the Coffee 
Bug. Prior to the appearance of the borer, it was reckoned by the 
coffee planter his greatest enemy; but true it is that great evils make 
us forget smaller, and so the bug has come to be regarded as a minor 
foe, seeing that it only does temporary damage, while the dreaded 
borer kills the tree ! 

Lecanium Caffe.e, Wlkr. 
The Bug— (See PI. vii.) 

This is the brown or scaly bug so well known, and so destructive 
both here and in Ceylon. Two other insects, called buy, viz., the White 
Bag and Black Bug also attack coffee, but they do so little harm in 
our coffee zone, that they do not demand any special notice. The 
bug is, no doubt, indigenous both here and in Ceylon, as it is said to 
appear on the orange, guava, beet, &c. in the latter, and it is often 
seen on the guava in this country. It seems first to have appeared 
in considerable numbers in Ceylon, in 1845, and spread with such 
rapidity, that in 1847 it was an object of general alarm. About this 
time, the late Dr. Gardner investigated the subject, and thereafter 
presented a very complete memoir regarding it to the Ceylon Gov- 
ernment. As the male and female, when mature, are very different 
in appearance, they will require to be described separately. 

Male. — Head sub-globular ; eyes black ; antennae eleven-jointed 
and with tufts of hair at the tips ; thorax somewhat heart-shaped ; 
wings two, horizontal, delicate membranous, and two-nerved ; ab- 
domen with two lateral and one long central appendage. Of pinkish 
brown colour, but not often seen on the bushes. 

Female. — Apterous ; capable of walking about until nearly full 
grown, when being impregnated, she becomes fixed to a young shoot, 
or the margin of the under surface of a leaf. She is then a conical- 
like scale of a brown colour, which to the naked eye looks smooth, 
but under the microscope, has a strong resemblance to the back of 
a tortoise. This scale contains several hundred eggs, which are 


smooth, oblong, and of a pale flesh colour, and are hatched within 
it. When the young ones come out, there is but little difference 
in appearance between the sexes ; but in a little the males betake 
themselves to the underside of the leaves, and the females to the 
young shoots. 

The male does not derive any nourishment from the tree, but 
the female has a proboscis with which she incises the bark and 
drinks the sap of the tree. The eggs being very minute, are easily 
transported from one place to another, by adhering to clothing, 
birds or animals, and this niay account for the apparently mysterious 
way in which the pest often makes its appearance on an estate. 
During the first year of invasion it does not do much harm, but in 
the second 3 7 ear, owing to the increase in the number of scales, a 
o-ood deal of the foliage is destroyed, and a portion of the crop 
turns black and falls off. About this time, too, a saccharine 
substance, called the Honey-dew, is secreted, apparently by the bugs, 
and shortly the plant acquires a dark warty and sordid ap- 
pearance. A careful examination will now discover the pre- 
sence of a fungus, which gradually covers the branches and leaves. 
In the third year the plaut will probably be completely devoid of 
leaves, and, of course, bear no crop. The fungus which spreads over 
the plant in a dense black felt-like covering, was termed the Tripos- 
porium Gardneii by Berkeley, and Syncladium Nietneri by Raben- 
horst. The bug seems to appear first in sheltered damp hollows and 
ravines, but when once fairly established, spreads over every part of 
an estate. It generally disappears in a few seasons, but leaves the 
trees in a weak and exhausted state, and is very apt to return. It 
seems to be most prevalent in wet seasons. No effectual remedy 
has been discovered for it, and Dr. Gardner thought that the ra- 
vages of the insect were entirely beyond human control. Mr. Neit- 
ner says, hand-rubbing will destroy an immense quantity of the bug, 
but is afraid the permanent good effect is but trifling. High cul- 
ture, he also remarks, has the effect of throwing off the pest ; and tar 
applied to the roots of the tree seems to be a valuable remedy. The 
bug has at times been very prevalent in Coorg and Wynaad, but is 
not so well known in Mysore, and does not appear to be common or 
destructive on shaded estates. 



All plants under the care of man are liable to disease, but 
fortunately the distempers that attack the coffee are not very 
numerous or serious. Disease in plants may arise from any of the 
following causes ; — 

I. Exhaustion of, or noxious elements in, the soil. 

II. Excess or deficiency of light, air, heat or moisture, or 
noxious substances in the air. 

III. Improper culture. 

IV. Mechanical injuries from winds, attacks of animals, &c. 
Everything, too, that weakens a plant, such as exhaustion from 

overbearing, or unfavourable seasons will, of course, predispose it to 
disease. One of the most common diseases of the coffee is what 
may be called, 

Stump Rot. 

It is a well known fact that few plants will grow in the shade 
of certain trees, — the Tamarind, for instance. This upas-like effect 
seems in some cases to be produced by deleterious gases given off 
by the leaves of the tree, and in others to arise simply from the 
ground having been deprived of those elements requisite for the 
nourishment of the smaller plant. In Stum.'p Rot, the coffee dies 
off persistently around a stump left in clearing. Year after year 
the plants are renewed only to perish, and leave an unsightly gap. 
It is difficult when a stump has been charred and is partly decayed, 
to discover to what tree it belonged, but I am inclined to think 
that the trees which produce Stump Rot are chiefly species of 
Ficus, the Cinnamon, and some of the Meliaceae and Bignoniacese- 
Plants affected with this disease gradually wither and die, as soon 
as their roots begin to descend and take hold of the ground. On 
examining the roots, they will either be found simply rotten, or 
decayed and occupied by a small fungus. In the former case, the 
immediate cause of death is some noxious gas, generated during 
the process of deca} r in the roots of the forest tree. In the latter, 
the coffee plant is first sickened by the presence of some hurtful 
substance in the soil, on which the spores of a fungus, growing on 
the decayed roots of the forest tree, fasten on those of the coffee, 
and shortly complete the work of destruction. The only remedy 
appears to be to dig up the roots of the stump. 



This disease is most common daring the rains. It attacks the 
leaves which rapidl}' turn black and fall off, on which many of the 
berries fall down, and those that remain are imperfectly ripened. 
Rot is caused partly by bad drainage, which allows the water to 
lodge about the roots, and partly by the overcrowding of the 
branches which prevents due exposure of the leaves. The results 
are, that the plant is constantly gorged with moisture, and circula- 
tion, perspiration and assimilation being nearly arrested, the foliage 
decays in the manner described. The remedies for this disease will 
be thorough drainage and free pruning. 

In some cases the entire plant dies, the leaves turning a sickly 
yellow, and the rot attacking the roots. This, too, arises from 
defective drainage. 


This disease attacks plants which have been improperly 
planted, or put out so late in the monsoon, that they have not 
had time to grow a sufficiency of fresh roots before the dry season. 
In consequence of this, they never make a proper start, and linger 
on, just shewing by a few yellow leaves that they are alive, and no 
more. In such plantings there are always a great many deaths, and 
even when the trees live, they never acquire the strength and 
vigour of healthy well reared ones, and are apt to be attacked by 
borer and infested with lichens. The best remedies for this 
condition are irrigation, if practicable, or mulching, which consists in 
littering the ground about the roots with grass, so as to retain the 
natural humidity of the soil. Where grass cannot be got, stones may 
be advantageously employed. 


This disease is most commonly seen in the "bamboo districts, 
where the plants gradually become decrepid and die prematurely, 
partly from exhaustion by excessive bearing, and partly from the 
soil becoming deprived of those elements which the coffee requires 
for its nutrition. In general terms, the cause of langour may be 
stated to be drought, and barrenness of soil. In several instances 
I have known it to arise after the plants were five or six years old, 
from their roots having encountered a bad subsoil. The decay of 
langour is quite distinct from that of age, being premature, and 
characterised by the decay of the tender branches, yellow colour of 
the leaves, and failure of crop. If not arrested, the plants die off in 


a few years. When the subsoil is at fault, no remedy will be of any 
avail, but in other cases much may be done by the free application 
of manure, and shade to protect from the sun. 

Lichens and Mosses. 
As a rule, trees covered with those parasites are far from healthy, 
and it is a question, on which some difference of opinion prevails, 
whether the debility is the cause or the result of their presence. 
So far as my own observations go, I am inclined to think that they 
induce disease in cultivated plants. That they prey on the secretions 
of the tree to which they are attached, and do not draw their entire 
sustenance from the atmosphere, is manifest from the fact that 
lichens contain substances that could never, by any possibility, have 
been derived from air or rain. What is more strange, we often find 
in a lichen something that does not exist in the tree on which it 
grew, so that it would appear that these curious organisms cause, in 
some way, the fostering tree to draw from the soil and yield up to them 
materials not used in its own economy. As a rule, lichens and 
mosses indicate bad drainage, and improvement in this particular, 
and the application of lime to the soil, will generally keep them in 
check. When the stem is much choked with them, they should be 
removed with a curved iron scraper, and the scraped surface painted 
with a mixture of cow-dung and quick-lime in water. The addition 
of a small quantity of sulphur to this recipe seems to increase its 
efficac3 T . 


Since the devastation caused by the borer became so great and 
general, many coffee planters have been anxiously seeking for some 
plant which they might profitably cultivate in fresh soil, or in lands 
in which the coffee has died out. In short, impresse 1 with the pre- 
cariousness of coffee crops, they have been looking for a second string 
to their bow, another staff on which to lean. The number of plants 
yielding valuable commercial products, for which the climate of the 
coffee zone is suitable, is by no means great, and I shall only notice 
such as might be thought worthy the attention of the Europj;in 
who will not be pleased with the small profits that satisfy and 
maintain the natives of the country. 



Eheea or Chinese Grass Cloth. 

This plant, -which produces the fibre from which the beauti- 
ful Chinese grass cloth is made, has now been cultivated in 
India for some years. Attention was recently drawn to it by 
a despatch from the Secretary of State for India, intimating 
that it was worth in the English market from 60 to 80 £ 
per ton, owing to the discovery of some process which faci- 
litated the extraction of the fibre, and produced some change in 
it, that rendered it an excellent substitute for worsted in the manu- 
facture of goods, in which that substance is mixed with cotton. The 
Bcehmeria is a native of China and Assam, and is cultivated with 
very great care in the former. It is raised there from seed, and is 
carefully manured. Throughout Lower India generally it does not 
seed, but is easily propagated by division of the roots, layers, and 
even cuttings, if the weather is damp. Dr. Macgowan gives the 
following information, as to the mode of culture in China (Yol. YI, 
Journ. of Agri-Horti. Society of India). " The roots are to be cut in 
pieces of three or four fingers' length, and ore to be planted in May, 
half a yard apart, and watered every three or four days. On the 
appearance of the blades, use the hoe and water them ; they will be 
mature for cutting in the second year. In the course of 3 years 
the roots become unfruitful." "It yields three crops every year. 
The first cutting takes place in June. Care is to be taken not to cub 
the young shoots, keep therefore an inch from the ground/' After 
each cutting, the plant is to be covered with manure and watered, 
but not by day, unless it be clomly. 

Manipulation. — " On being cut, the leaves are carefully taken 
off with a bamboo knife by women and children, generally on the 
spot. It is then taken to the house and soaked in water for an hour, 
unless it is already wet by recent showers ; in cold weather, the water 
should be tepid. After this the plant is broken in the middle, by 
which the fibrous portion is loosened, and raised from the stalk ; into 
the interstice thus made the operator, generally a woman or child, 
thrusts the finger nails, and separates the fibre from the centre to 
one extremity, and then to the other, Steeping process is very easy." 
" The next process is scraping the hemp, to facilitate which the fibre 
is first soaked in water. The knife or scraper is about two inches 
long, and its back is inserted in a handle of twice its length. This 
rude implement is held in the left hand ; its edge, which is dull, is 


raised a line above the index finger. Strips of hemp are then drawn 
over the blade from within outwards, and being pressed upon by the 
thumb, the pilous surface of one surface and the mucilaginous part of 
the other are thus taken off. The hemp then rolls up like boiled 
tendon. After being wiped dry, it is exposed to the sun for a day, 
and then assorted, the whitest being selected for fine cloth." There- 
after it is partially bleached by boiling, and then the fibres are 
separated by the finger nails of women and children. These latter 
processes would not seem to be necessary to fit the fibre for the 
English market, and indeed the maceration in water to aid in clean- 
ing the fibre must be performed with the utmost caution, otherwise 
it may be damaged both in colour and in strength. The Rheea, of 
which plants were got by me for the Agri-Horticultural Society, about 
two years ago from Calcutta, has, with an occasional watering, grown 
tolerably well in the gardens at Madras, and thrives admirably at Ban- 
galore and Mercara. It seems to like moist sheltered hollows, and if 
carefully cultivated, will doubtless prove fully as profitable as coffee 
under the most favourable circumstances ; and it is not a crop likelv 
to suffer from bad seasons. The demand for the fibre is said to be 
steadily on the increase, and were some cheap machine for cleaning 
the fibre brought out, which it is sure to be ere long, the cost of 
manipulation would be so much reduced as greatly to increase the 

Phormium Tenax. 
New Zealand Flax. 
This plant is a native of New Zealand, and its fibre has for 
a considerable time been an article of export from that island. It 
has lately been introduced into the Government Gardens at Gota- 
caraund, and thrives so well, that I entertain confident hopes of its 
proving a most valuable addition to the cultivated plants of our vari- 
ous hill ranges. It is a flag-like plant, of large size, with sword-shaped 
leaves, and bears its flowers on a stalk like the American Aloe. The 
Phormium covers millions of acres in New Zealand, growing sponta- 
neously on any kind of soil, moist or diy, and in any locality, high 
or low. It, however, attains its greatest luxuriance in moist alluvial 
soil, and I believe it will be found to do well, with very little care, 
in most parts, but especially towards the western side of our cof- 
fee zone. The fibre is extracted from the fleshy leaves, which the Mao- 
ries also cut into strips and use instead of cords, strings, ropes, straps 


&c. They extract the fibre by scraping off the parenchyma with a 
shell. In 1S60, the Rev. Mr. Purchas, of New Zealand, invented a 
machine for cleaning it, which is said to do its work well, and to 
be equally suited for the American Aloe, Manilla Hemp, and Pine- 
apple. As all these grow so readily in this country, the introduction 
of such an implement would give an immense impulse to the pro- 
duction of fibres, and I would take the liberty of recommending, 
that Government procure one of Mr. Purchas' machines for trial in 
Madras. Although no country in the world is so rich in fibrous 
plants as India, the known methods of manipulation are so expensive 
and defective, that we have been able to do little or nothing with 
them, and they therefore remain as dead wealth. 

Musa Textilts. 
Manilla Plantain, or Manilla Hemi\ 
The cultivation of this plant on a pretty large scale, is being 
tried on some estates in "Wynaad, and is not attended with the 
slightest difficulty ; but the want of some machine to clean the fibre 
is likely to stop the experiment when it is just at the verge of suc- 

Eicinus Communis. 

Castor Oil. 

This plant, yielding the well known Castor oil, thrives admirably 
on the driest and most barren soil in the coffee districts, and might 
be advantageously cultivated on tracts of ground on which the 
coffee has not been found to thrive. From forty to fifty per cent, 
of oil will be got from cleaned seed of good qualit}', and the oil is by 
no means difficult to prepare by the process which produces the 
cold drawn oil. There are two varieties of the plant, one yielding a 
small and the other a large seed, and it is generally stated that the 
the oil extracted from the latter has a disagreable appearance and 
smell, and is unsuited for medicinal purposes. From a series of 
experiments instituted by me, some years ago, I am able to state, 
that there is no foundation whatever for this opinion. The method 
of preparing the oil is as follows : — Free the seeds of stones and dirt 
by the native sifter. Then place them in a large mortar, cut out of 
wood or stone, like that used in the native oil mill, and beat them 
with a rice pounder slightly so as to crack the husks, but not to cake 
tbe seeds. The husks must now be removed by hand, an operation 
which can be performed by women and children. The seeds should 

then be pounded in the mortar, and if the temperature of the air is 
low, should be warmed by steam heat, after which they are put in 
small bags of woollen cloth, made in England for the purpose, and 
called sacking, or strong gunny, and the bags arranged alternately 
with plates of iron previously warmed, in a hydraulic or powerful 
screw press. As the oil is squeezed out, it should be received in 
clean tin pans, and when the flow has ceased, the bags should be taken 
out and their contents again pounded and squeezed as before. Gene- 
rally speaking, this part of the process requires to be repeated three 
times, so as to get the whole of the oil, which will then be found to 
be somewhat muddy, from the presence of albumen and other im- 
purities. To get rid of these, add one part of filtered water to eight 
parts of oil, and boil these over a brisk smokeless fire, until the whole 
of the water has been evaporated, which will be known by bubbles 
ceasing to rise. Then remove at once, and allow to cool, when the 
dirt will all be found adhering to the bottom of the boiler. This 
is the nicest part of the whole operation, as if the oil is kept on the 
fire one minute after the water has been driven off, it will acquire a 
burnt or empyreumatic flavour ; which greatly reduces its commer- 
cial value. Oil prepared carefully in this way is as clear as water, 
and has scarcely any taste or smell. It may me sent to England in 
tins, packed in wooden cases. The most expensive part of the process 
is the removal of the husks, and if some machine, say a modification 
of the disk coffee pulper, could be invented for performing the 
operation, the profits would be very large. 


The varieties of this plant, known as Bourhon, New Orleans, 
Brazilian, and Sea Island, will all thrive in the coffee districts, 
and might be cultivated with advantage on portions of estates that 
have become unfit for coffee. The amount of labour necessaiy, and 
the high rate of wages are no doubt serious obstacles, but at the 
same time if the culture is conducted with care and on a moderately 
large scale, it cannot fail to yield a fair profit. To render the 
ground fit for the seed, it must be well ploughed and cleared of 
weeds, and cast into small ridges, from three to five feet apart. < )n the 
top of the ridge, a little furrow, about two inches deep, must then be 
made, and the seed scattered in this pretty freely, and covered in 
by trailing over it a piece of wood of sufficient weight. The period 
of sowing is a point of vast importance, and Dr. Wight recommends 


that in places under the south-west monsoon, it should be done in 
the month of May, so as to have the plants well up before the heavy 
rains. If sown during the rains, the seeds rot. Sowing in May, the 
cotton will be ripe about the end of September or beginning of Oc- 
tober, when fair weather, which is absolutely essential during the 
picking season, may be expected. Weeds may be kept down by 
the A-shaped horse hoe, and when the plants are five or six inches 
high, the earth should be banked up on the roots. Manuring will 
sometimes be necessary in poor soil, but generally there will be no 
necessity for it if the earth is ploughed deeply with a light plough 
of the Scotch model, so as to bring up a fresh layer to the surface. 
The cotton, it is said, requires to be treated as an annual, as gene- 
rally speaking, the crop from two-year old plants is rather poor, and 
of inferior quality. However, further experience is required on 
this point, as I have found Sea-Island yield splendid crops for two 
years in succession, Avhen the plants were heavily pruned and the 
soil well dug up about the roots. 

The question as to whether the tea plant can be cultivated 
within the coffee zone, is at present being subjected to the test of 
experiment, and until the result is seen, it would scarcely be safe to 
plant extensively, as even on the upper heights of the Neilgherries, 
which were thought peculiarly suited for the tea, the trials have 
not by any meaus proved so successful as was anticipated. That 
the plant will grow in the coffee districts, there cannot be a doubt, 
but whether it will produce leaf of such quality, and in such 'quan- 
tity as will render its culture profitable, is somewhat doubtful. All 
the plants that I have seen in "Wynaad, Coorg, and Mysore, had a 
constant tendency to run to seed, which would of course prevent 
their producing the necessary Hushes of leaves. Probably some 
change in culture may obviate this, and with a view to prevent it, 
irrigation during the hotter months is deserving of a trial. The 
degree of elevation requisite for tea culture depends a good deal on 
the rainfall, &c, but I hardly think the necessary climatic conditions 
will be found at any site under three thousand feet above the sea. The 
plant known as the hybrid seems the best suited for Southern India, 
and the stiffish moist loamy clay of the heavy jungle tract the best 
adapted for its growth. As there are several excellent hand-books 
on tea planting, it is unnecessary for me to enter into particulars 
on the subject. 


The only species likely to thrive in the coffee zone is the Cin- 
chona Succiriibra, and its large leaves and soft young wood suffer a 
good deal from the wind during the south-west monsoon. As a com- 
mercial speculation, or means of livelihood, cinchona culture is not 
attractive, as the capital invested must remain, for a very long time, 
totally uuremunerative, and we have } T et to learn how man)' years 
the trees will live if deprived of a great portion of their bark and 
some of their branches annually. Possibl} 7 as our experience en- 
larges, it may be found that the plant will not require so much care 
in the way of weeding, &c, as has hitherto been bestowed on it, and 
I think it would be well, that b\^ way of experiment, some acres 
should be left without more attention than what is devoted to plan- 
tations of forest trees in England. At present, planters are not 
likely to extend operations bej^ond the putting down a few hundred 
trees, to } T ield in future years a supply of bark for their coolies ; and 
full instructions regarding Cinchona culture will be found in Mr. 
Mclvor's admirable Manual. 

Theobroma Cacao, or Chocolate Tree. 
The Chocolate tree is a native of tropical America, and is now 
cultivated both in the western and eastern hemispheres. It is raised 
from seed, and the ground previous to sowing should be well trench- 
ed and arranged in small ridges. The seeds are then to be put — say 
six or eight inches apart — in shallow ruts on the top of the ridges 
and lightly covered with. soil. To protect them from the sun, small 
pandah, like those used in coffee nurseries, must now be put up, 
and watering should be carefully attended to, but not too much ap- 
plied, as when it lodges, the seeds are liable to rot. The plants 
should remain in the nursery until from fifteen to eighteen inches high 
when they may be transplanted with balls of earth attached to the 
roots. The Cacao requires rich, deep, and moist forest soil, and the 
situation should be such as will admit of irrigation, when necessar}\ 
The plants should be put out in rows, so that there will be from 
twelve to fifteen feet between every two plants, and the pits should 
be twice as deep, and somewhat broader than those recommended for 
the coffee. To protect the young plants, which are particularly ten- 
der, from sun and wind, Plantain, or the Erythrinalndica must be 
put down between every second row. The Spaniards from this use 
of it, call the Erythrina — Madre de cacao* When about two years 
* Porter's "Tropical Agriculturist." 


old, the tree usually puts forth a number of branches near the top, but 
all are cut away, save five or six. Flowers appear in the third year, 
but these should 'all be removed, so as to prevent its fruiting until 
five years old. When growing the ground must be regularly weeded, 
and suckers carefully removed from the trees. When full grown, a 
Cacao plantation is said to be a beautiful sight, and there is perhaps 
no crop " which calls for fewer cares or less labour."* As the fruit 
ripens, it changes from a green to a purplish or yellow colour, and 
should not be gathered until quite ripe. When collected, it is cut 
open and the seeds separated from the pulp, and put into a heap of 
sand until they undergo slight fermentation, which frees them from 
adhering pulp. To prevent the fermentation going too far, the seeds 
must be often stirred with a stick, and fresh sand added each time, 
so as to absorb the moisture. In three or four daj T s they will 
be quite or nearly dry, and then they should be dried in the sun on 
a platform, like that used for drying coffee. Care must be taken in 
case of rain to remove the seeds under cover, as it would completely 
destroy them, and they must be exposed until perfectly dry, which 
will be known by their splitting when pressed, and not fermenting 
when heaped together. They are then put in bags or boxes, and 
ready for export. 

Manihot TJtilissima, or Janipha Manihot. 
Tapioca Plant. 
The Tapioca, or Bitter Cassava, a native of South America, 
is now cultivated about Madras and Bangalore pretty extensively, 
and will grow readily in any part of the coffee zone. It is propa- 
gated by cuttings, which should be planted in cleared ground, at 
the distance of from two and a half to three feet apart. They 
should be put down in the month of June, and the ground kept free 
of weeds until they cover the soil and subdue the weeds. In the 
month of March or April following, the roots which contain the 
tapioca will be fit for use. They are of a dark colour, of considera- 
ble size, and contain along with the starchy matter, a poisonous nar- 
cotic substance, which is got rid of in the process of preparation. 
When taken from the ground the} 7 are washed, peeled, and reduced 
to pulp bv a grater fixed on theeilge of a thick wooden wheel. The 
pulp is received in a trough placed below the wheel, bruised, and 
then washed in a large tub filled with clean water. The resulting 
turbid fluid is passed through a fine hair-sieve, so as to free it from 

• Porter's Tropical Agriculturistt 


gross impurities, and allowed to rest for some time, when the tapi- 
oca will settle at the bottom. When this has taken place, the su- 
pernatant fluid is drawn off, and fresh water added. To render the 
tapioca perfectly wholesome and white, the washing process mus fc 
be repeated at least five times. The pasty mass is then removed, 
put into squares of strong cloth, and partially dried by folding over 
the sides and twisting the ends in opposite directions. This com- 
pleted, it is spread out on hot iron plates, and agitated so as to 
give it the granular form in which it is sent to market, The 
tapioca grows best in an open rich soil, but being rather ex- 
hausting, the ground will require to be manured after the second 
or third crop. Arrow-root (Maranta Arundinacea) will also grow 
readily, and is prepared from the roots by rasping and washing, as 
in the case of the tapioca. It does not, however, require the aid 
of artificial heat, but when clean, is simply dried in the sun. 
Myristica Officinalis. 
It seems highly probable that this plant might be successfully 
cultivated in the western parts of the coffee zone, as a wild species 
is very abundant throughout the heavy jungle tract, and if so, it 
would prove a great acquisition to the European planter, as the 
profits are very large. On the other hand, the opening of a Nut- 
meg plantation is attended with greater expense than a coffee, and no 
crop need be expected until the trees are six or seven years old. The 
land selected for nutmeg culture should be well sheltered and not 
steep, and the soil rich and open. In clearing, belts of trees should 
be left to protect the plantation from the south-west and other winds 
to which it may be exposed. The first step is to get fresh ripe nuts 
Avhich should be planted at the distance of one foot apart in a nui- 
sery, protected from the sun as usual. The ground must be kept 
clear of weeds, and water applied in moderate quantity daily. The 
seeds germinate in from thirty to sixty days, and when the seedlings 
are from two to three feet high, they are fit for transplanting. The 
ground in which they are to grow should be well cleared of weeds 
and roots, and large pits, in rows, opened for their reception at in- 
tervals of two feet. At first they will require the protection of 
plantain trees to screen them from the sun and wind. Thereafter 
the ground between the rows is to be kept open and clear of weeds 
by the plough, and a basket or two of cow-dung must be applied 


every year to the roots of each tree. When about five years old, the 
shade of the plantains may be dispensed with, but the manuring 
must be continued, the quantity of manure being increased in pro- 
portion to the size of the tree. The nutmeg is a dioecious plant, that 
is, having male or barren flowers on one tree, and female or fertile 
upon another. The one sex cannot be distinguished from the other, 
until the flowers appear, and thus considerable loss results, as the 
greater number of the male trees have to be cut down. Probably, 
however, this might be avoided by grafting branches of a female 
tree on the males. The trees come into full bearing when ten years 
old, and eight pounds of nutmeg and one aud a quarter pounds of 
mace may be expected from a good tree annually. When the fruit is 
ripe, the outer covering bursts, which is the signal for gathering it. It 
is then divested of the mace, which is spread on mats in the sun to 
dry. The nuts are then taken to the drying house, and subjected 
to a temperature of 140° Thr. by means of smouldering fires. 
"When thoroughly dried, so that the kernels rattle when the nuts are 
shaken, the shells are cracked with mallets, and the nutmegs re- 
moved. Sometimes they are dipped in a mixture of salt water and 
lime before packing, to prevent the attacks of insects, but the rolling 
of them in sifted quick lime seerns to answer the purpose as well* 
and to be less likely to injure the spice. 

In previous chapters such casual remarks have been made on 
this subject, as will lender it unnecessary to do more here than give 
a brief summary of my conclusions. The experiments that 
have been going on for years have proved that the climate 
and soil are by no means inimical to the plant, inasmuch as it 
has lived and produced crops when badly cultivated or neglected, 
and there can now be no doubt that, under better treatment, it would 
prove a safe and profitable investment. Taking each district as a 
whole, the average 3* ield per acre has scarcely been sufficient to 
cover working expenses, and most planters are beginning to feel that 
something must be done to render crops larger and more certain. 
In some instances, no doubt, the returns have been satisfactory, but 
such success has not been enduring. A rich soil and favourable 
climate may, for a few years, have kept the plants in a vigorous 
and fruitful condition, but sooner or later a change has come, for 


no soil, whatever may be its natural fertility, can go on for ever pro- 
ducing exhausting crops such as the coffee, unless fresh materials be 
added to it, in the shape of suitable manure. Indeed, nature herself 
sets us an example in this matter by fertilising the natural meadow 
with the withered carpet of grass that clothed its surface, and the 
forest by dead leaves and herbaceous plants. In nearly every coffee- 
producing country in the world, the necessity for manuring is now 
practically acknowledged, and where it is not resorted to, the reckless 
system is adopted of abandoning old clearings so soon as they get un- 
productive, and opening fresh soil. Coffee culture in India is passing 
through a crisis not unlike what it did in Ceylon, and many years 
ago the planters there began to see the necessity for manuring and 
high culture, and by resorting to these, undoubtedly saved them- 
selves from ruin. It cannot, therefore, be too strongly impressed 
on the planters of Southern India, that their fate is, so to speak, 
in their own hands. If they adhere to the present bad system, 
the poor success that has hitherto attended their labours will still 
cling to them, but should they be induced to adopt a better mode 
of culture, coffee planting will soon become fairly remunerative, 
and regain the confidence of the public. In reviewing existing 
systems, I have pointed out their defects, and so it will suffice 
now to say that the planter must manure freely, keep the ground 
cleaner, establish better drainage, prune more skilfully and regu- 
larly, and dig his ground annually. To carry out these improve- 
ments will cause a considerable increase in expenditure, and this 
is what forms such a barrier to their adoption, as some proprie- 
tors are disinclined, and others unable to spend more money. To 
meet this difficulty, I would suggest the abandonment of all bad or 
inferior land, for coffee is not so very remunerative on good, that the 
planter c;m afford to farm what is bad. On nearly every estate there 
is from eight to ten per cent, of land so absolutely barren, that no care 
could render it productive, and yet, for appearance sake, it has been 
kept up year after year at great expense. Of course, there can be no 
question about the propriety of resigning such ground back to the 
keeping of nature, and in addition there will always be a proportion 
of land so poor, that it had better be left uncultivated. This would 
then permit of much more money being spent on what is really 
worth cultivating, and I feel assured that the profits of a property' 
thus shorn of its bad pieces and well worked up would be at least 
satisfactory. Tndeed, I would even go a step farther than this, and 


recommend the man who has opened out three times as much land as 
he has capital to cultivate, to abandon two-thirds of it, for poverty in 
the planter means bad culture on the estate, and one acre well 
taken care of will be more profitable than ten neglected. The pre- 
sent indeed, apart altogether from the ravages of the borer, is 
a most critical time for coffee culture in Southern India. Other 
coffee-producing countries, both in the East and West, are year by 
year increasing their exports of the famous berry, which has had 
the effect of causing a considerable reduction in prices in the Eng- 
lish and continental markets. At the same time, the cost of labour 
and expenses generally here are increasing and likely to increase, 
while the average yield per acre remains stationary or grows less. 
Unless, therefore, the Indian planter can increase his crops and profits 
by an improved system of culture, he must inevitably ere long be 
driven vanquished from the field. It seems quite certain that the 
prices that have for some years been got for coffee will never be 
realised again ; but ou the other hand, there seems no reason to anti- 
cipate that they will ever be much lower than they are at present* 
I have already spoken fully of the place which India occupies 
amongst other great coffee-growing countries, and it only remains to 
be said here, that she is perfectly able to hold her position, provided 
her planters will be wise in time, and not defer improvements until 
ruin is staring them in the face. 

With regard to the ravages of the borer, although I believe 
that the insect will never leave the coffee districts, and will always 
be ready to prey on badly cultivated and unshaded trees, still there 
can be no doubt that the recent disastrous invasion is of an extra- 
ordinary and transient nature, and will, even if left in the hands of 
nature, gradually pass awa}'. Past experience of similar outbreaks 
of destructive insects in other parts of the globe lead us to expect 
this ; but at the same time it is the planter's duty to do all he can 
to exterminate the pest ; and to adopt such measures as will hereafter 
keep the enemy at a distance. Enough lias been said regarding 
expedients for checking the ravages of the borer on infested estates, 
and experience has shewn that in shade and high culture we have 
preventives that leave nothing further to be desired. 

In conclusion, I would briefly say, that I entertain confi- 
dent hopes of the success of coffee culture in Southern India, and 
by success, I mean a fair return for outlay, and not the extra- 


vagant profits which have been promised by some and expected by 
too many. To secure this, however, the planter must take the 
proper course, and he is not asked to adopt a system untried and 
chimerical, but one which has for years been subjected to the test 
of experiment, and is based on those general principles that guide 
the cultivator of the soil in every civilised part of the world. 

And now I must express my thanks to the Government of 
Madras, and the Commissioner of Mysore and Coorg, for the unfettered 
manner in which I was permitted to conduct this investigation. 
Such liberty has greatly facilitated my labours, and made me anxious 
to merit their confidence. I am also much indebted to the Collector 
of Malabar, the Superintendent of Coorg, and the Deputy Superin- 
tendent of Hassan, for the assistance which they gave me in collecting 
information, and in travelling through their districts. Nothing 
either could have exceeded the attention and courtesy of their sub- 
ordinates. Mr. Underwood, the Deputy Collector of Manantoddy, 
was particularly zealous in his assistance, and to name any in Coorg 
or M3 r sore, where all were so attentive, would be invidious. To the 
planters and other gentlemen who furnished me with much valuable 
information, and invariably received me with kindness, I would also 
record my thanks, and sincerely trust that the result of this inquiry 
may be to help them to win that success, which their industry and 
enterprise so well deserve. 


Commissioner for Investigating the ravages 

of the Borer in Coffee Estates. 


Read the following letter from Surgeon G. Bidie, m. b. 
(Here enter 3rd August 1868.) 

Order thereon, 19th June 1869, No. 837. 

The foregoing is the report submitted by Surgeon George 

Bidie, M. b., and contains the result of the investigation which he 

was deputed to make into the injury caused by the ravages of the 

Borer insect to the coffee trees in Mysore, Coorg, and the Wynaad. 

2. In order to prevent further climatic deterioration by forest 
clearance in situations not suited for coffee culture, to regulate the 
natural drainage of the country in the interests of the rice cultiva- 
tion, and to maintain the fertility of the coffee zone, Dr. Bidie, at 
page 15 of his report, suggests that " in future when application is 
made for coffee land, the chief Revenue Officer and Executive 
Engineer of the District, along with the Conservator of Forests 
should inspect the block selected, and ascertain whether or not it is 
suited for the purpose ;" and at page 29 he lays down certain rules 
specifying the situations in which he considers now existing forest 
should be preserved. 

3. The Government admit the importance of placing all possible 
restrictions on unnecessary felling, and resolve to refer Dr. Bidie's 
suggestions for the opinions of the Board of Revenue and the 
Conservator of Forests. 

4. Fifty copies of the report will be furnished to Dr. Bidie for 
private distribution, and two hundred copies will be forwarded to 
Messrs. Gantz Brothers, who will be requested to sell them on 
commission at Rupees 2 per copy. 

5. The Accountant General is requested to report what the 
entire cost of Dr. Bidie's investigation has been, and the Govern- 
ment consider that the time spent by Dr. Bidie in the territories 
of Mysore, Coorg, and Madras respectively, would be the fairest 
principle of division to adopt in apportioning the cost among the 
three Governments. 

6. The Government have perused with much interest Dr. 
Bidie's able and exhaustive report, and request that gentleman to 
accept their best thanks for it and for the labour which he has 
expended in the investigation. 

(True Extract.) 

(Signed) R. A. DALYELL, 

Acting Secretary to Government.